demonstrations

County high school students demonstrate, want principal out

Students marched through the streets of Garissa town demanding principal's exit.

In Summary

•Carrying placards and twigs, the hundreds of students marched through the streets of Garissa town as they called for the immediate transfer of the school principal.

•A student who spoke on condition of anonymity said that since the principal was transferred to the school three years ago, the results have been going down with no signs of improvement.

Students of County high school demonstrating in the streets of Garissa on Thursday.
Students of County high school demonstrating in the streets of Garissa on Thursday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Students of County high school in Garissa on Thursday took to the streets to demonstrate against what they termed as poor results orchestrated by the school principal Abdi Shakur.

Carrying placards and twigs, the hundreds of students marched through the streets of Garissa town as they called for the immediate transfer of the school principal.

The business was temporarily halted in the town as the angry students engaged the police in a cat and mouse game.

In a bid to control the students from advancing to the office of the county director of education, the police lobbed tear gas canisters to disperse them.

In retaliation, the students started pelting stones at the police, motorists and pedestrians. Several vehicles' windscreens were destroyed as a result of the standoff.

Businesses had to be hurriedly closed for fear of looting taking place.

Speaking to the press, several students said that all they want is to have the principal transferred from the school.

Garissa sub county OCPD James Ngetich argues with students of county high school when they demonstrated on Thursday.
Garissa sub county OCPD James Ngetich argues with students of county high school when they demonstrated on Thursday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

“It is unfortunate that our school was one of those that performed dismally in last year's KCSE exams. We had less than ten per cent of our students go to the university and we blame all this on our school principal,” said one of the students who requested anonymity for fear of victimization.

Another student said that since the principal was transferred to the school three years ago, the results have nosedived.

“It is said that for a school to post good results then it must have a good leader or principal who has good management skills. Unfortunately in our school, our principal has done little to either maintain or even improve our results,” he said.

However, according to one of the teachers from the school who spoke on conditions that he is not identified, the students were protesting against the teacher because he refused to allow them to cheat in exams.

“I can tell you the students' demonstration has got absolutely nothing to do with poor results. the thing is this, the principal refused to bend the rules. Some of them wanted to be allowed to copy the exams and that is what the principal dint want at all, hence the protests,” he said.

A police officer with handcuffed students of County high school when they demonstrated on Thursday
A police officer with handcuffed students of County high school when they demonstrated on Thursday
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

When contacted by the Star, the school principal Abdi Shakur refused to comment on the allegations levelled against him by the students only saying that the truth will come out soon.

"I kindly would wish not wish to talk about the issue now. It is being handled by a higher officer. A meeting will soon be convened where the school management, education officials parents and other stakeholders will be in attendance. Only then will I talk about the issues the students have raised and defend myself as well," he said

Speaking to the Star on phone, Garissa county director of education Korio Hussein said a meeting bringing together all stakeholders will soon be convened in a bid to find a solution to the stalemate.

“It is unfortunate that it had to get to that level of students going to the streets to protest. The best thing for them to do would have to give dialogue a chance because at the end of the day we all mean good for them,” he said.

Students of County high school demonstrating in Garissa town on Thursday.
Students of County high school demonstrating in Garissa town on Thursday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

During the protests, several students were arrested and locked in the cells.

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