The sins students commit in high school will follow them for the rest of their lives— and could deny them opportunities in university, college and even employment.
This was the stern warning by Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed yesterday as she unveiled a raft of measures to stem a wave of unrest that has hit schools across the country with property in some of the institutions being razed.
And among the tough measures wil be the capturing of the criminal acts of the culprits in their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) certificates.
Amina backed an announcement by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) that students involved in schools unrest would be treated as criminals.
“This is to warn every student from primary and secondary schools, college and university that the DCI is archiving and profiling every criminal act and consolidating charges that may be preferred to each and every student involved in schools unrest would be treated as criminals.
“This is to warn every student from primary , secondary school, college and university that the DCI is archiving and profiling every criminal act and consolidating charges that may be preferred to each and every student involved in any crime,” the DCI said on Sunday.
Amina said her ministry supports the move by DCI to criminalise all acts of student unrest, destruction and arson. “There must be accountability and students cannot engage in criminal activities and go scot free because they are minors,” she said.
The Education CS also ordered all boarding schools to double the number of teachers on duty for the next two weeks, with emphasis on surveillance of dormitories when students are attending evening preps.
The CS read the riot act as five more schools were closed indefinitely following unrest. They are Barding Secondary School (Siaya), St Mary’s Girls Mumias (Kakamega), Galana Secondary (Kilifi), Chewoyet Boys (West Pokot) and Oriwo Boys secondary (Homa Bay).
Other schools that have been affected are the top-performing Maranda High School, Kisumu Girls, Ng’iya Girls, Ambira, Maliera, Onjiko, Otieno Oyoo, Chulaimbo, Ngere, Kandiege, Usenge Secondary, St Augustine Nyamonye and Litein Boys High School.
She said at least 125 students have been arrested in connection with the riots. Property worth millions of shillings has been destroyed in the unrest.
“At least 125 students from various schools have been arrested as police intensify the crackdown on all masterminds of the recent cases of student unrest,” she said.
Of these, seven are arson cases that targeted dormitories when students were undertaking evening studies.
In Kisii, 15 Nyakeyo Secondary School students were arrested for allegedly torching two houses in Marani, Kisii. The students were allegedly revenging a colleague’s death, which they claimed had been caused by the villagers.
A tough-talking Amina said the criminal records would be used for future reference after he students complete their secondary school studies.
As a result, students engaging in the burning and destruction of school property will find it difficult to join universities and other middle-level colleges as well getting employment.
She said already three students from Siakago Boys in Embu have been jailed for one year. “They can only attend a day school as they have to report to the local chief twice a week. They will have to account for their criminal activities,” she said. She said she has intensified field visits by officials, including the Cabinet secretary who will visit regions that have reported the highest cases of unrest adding that stakeholder forums under the Regional Coordinators of Education and County Directors of Education will be held in all the regions with a view to finding common and lasting solutions.
“All boarding schools have been asked to double the number of teachers on duty over the next two weeks, with greater emphasis on surveillance of boarding facilities when students are attending evening preps,” she said.
The CS directed all Quality Assurance Officers in all counties to file daily reports on the security situations in their regions with clear explanations on any existing gaps.
On the Chalbi and Ortum incidents, the CS said preliminary reports indicate the unrest are related to students’ reaction to last year’s cancellation of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE)examination results, tough examination rules meant to stamp out cheating and general cases of indiscipline.
She said the cancellation of last year’s KCSE exam was particularly the main cause of the unrest in Chalbi and Ortum high schools.
She said students attacked non-local teachers on claims that they were behind the cancellation. “In the two schools, students wanted an undertaking from the principals that they would facilitate cheating in the 2018 KCSE,” she said.
The CS added over the past two years, the ministry has mounted formidable measures meant to guarantee the integrity of national examinations.