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March 21, 2018

Schools will not be closed until official date, Matiang'i says as stakeholders meet

Kabarnet high school dormitory when it was burnt by unknown arsonists./FILE
Kabarnet high school dormitory when it was burnt by unknown arsonists./FILE

Education CS Fred Matiang'i has ruled out early closure of schools over arson saying the arsonists should face stern action.

"We’ll not cave in to pressure to close schools; term dates will be followed to logical conclusion," he said.

At a meeting with various stakeholders on Thursday, the CS said the destruction of school infrastructure is likely to undermine the gains that the country continues to make towards improving access, equity and quality of education for the Kenyan child.

The meeting was attended by Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association and National Cohesion and Integration Commission today, at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development,to find a solution to the rise of arson cases in schools.

Anglican Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit also said: "Students must air their grievances in an orderly manner."

He said efforts must be put in place by all stakeholders to end the crisis that has hit most schools across the country.

"Head teachers must normalise the calendar and provide adequate time for students to sit for their end of term exams," he said.

Sapit said the Education ministry, Teachers Service Commission and clergy should also fast track the process of implementing chaplaincy in schools.

He further said the boards of management should to continue holding meetings with students to curb unrest.

"A national stakeholders meeting will be held on September 23 to deliberate on the issue," he said.

This comes hours after Kuppet issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government to close schools, failure to which they will stage a nationwide strike.

Chairman Omboko Milemba said at a press conference on Thursday that they know the cause of the rampant fires.

"But we will not disclose until we are called for a stakeholders meeting," Milemba said.

More on this: [VIDEO] Mr President, end this school madness

Dormitories in more than 115 schools have been burnt for the past two months, the spate of fires continues to escalate by day.

The latest to report an incident is Garbatula national school in Isiolo county - which was razed on Thursday.

The fire was reported shortly after dormitories at Madogo secondary - which borders Tana River and Garissa counties, and Ganze Girls in Malindi went up in flames on Wednesday night.

Some education officials have accused students on grounds that the fires are sparked by an exam fever sweeping across schools ahead of this year's national examinations.

But Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion said the fires are due to the radical reforms introduced by CS Matiang'i and a board formed to probe rampant cases of exam cheating.

Read: List of more than 100 schools affected in June, July arson attacks

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