In a recent broadcast, Kenya Citizen TV reported an alarming trend of increased turmoil in Kenyan schools that has developed over the past few months. Officials are baffled by this year’s spate of unrest. In the past year, over 300 schools have either burned down or suffered crippling student demonstrations.
Despite the conclusion of the recent teacher strike, the protest seems to be only a single instance of a much larger trend. Just within the past month, Kenyan schools have been subject to an inordinate level of tumult. Schools in Baringo have been shut down by bandit attacks. 400 students of the Doldol Boys’ Secondary School have rioted to protest inadequate school meals, destroying windows and solar panels. Students from seven schools in Embu also initiated violent demonstrations in order to secure a midterm break. They then vandalized school property, relenting only when security forces issued teargas into the crowd. Plots to burn schools down have been discovered, along with several petrol bombs. Just a week earlier, students from Rwika Technical institutin Mbeere South District boycotted to protest the school food. The Star even reports a “demon attack frenzy” among some students of Ngala Memorial Girls’ High School.
The broadcast reflected views both stern and analytic. Education minister Mutula Kilonzo coldly stated in response to the recent student protests, “We will not allow this to happen again. We are watching you and with a very keen eye, and we will get you arrested – prosecuted, and to [sic] stop you.” However, Prof. Okumu-Bigambo noted a larger issue, stating, “The adults have lost sense of the rules. The adults have lost sense of care. If students can see councilors fighting in a board room, if students can see parliamentarians throwing stones and parliamentarians throwing punches at an innocent person, and if students can see parents during parents’ days, [who have] no respect for the teachers…the child is learning something, learning something from the parents.”
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