Close

FIGHTING TERROR

Students to learn how to detect bombs

School curriculum will be expanded to include lessons on drills, evacuation, first aid, how to locate explosives and how to sense danger, among others

In Summary

• The bill seeks to reduce the risks posed to students by disaster in schools and learning institutions.

• It will amend the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Act, 2013 and comes at a time of increased attacks.

It won't be just maths, Kiswahili and science anymore.

Schools will soon be compelled to teach learners about anti-terrorism, how to detect explosives and react in case of an attack, if a  Bill inParliament is passed.

The Bill introduced by Turkana Woman Representative Joyce Emanikor seeks to reduce the risk posed by bombs, especially improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

 

These are bombs constructed and deployed in unconventional ways, frequently as roadside bombs.

Somali terror group al Shabaab has been targeted Kenyan security forces, shopping malls, hotels and learning institutions using IEDs and other weapons.

Emanikor is hoping her Bill will provide students with a foundation to think fast, think ahead and prepare for deadly situations like the massacre at Garissa University.

If Bill is enacted into law, school curriculum will be expanded to include lessons on drills, evacuations, first aid, how to locate explosives, how to sense danger and react, among other safety-related teachings.

It's the Kena Institute of Curriculum Development (Amendment ) Bill, 2019. It's headed for its second reading.

It will ensure anti-terrorism lessons are taught but it does not specify at what level.

It will incorporate personal safety, self-defence, demonstrations on security drills, first aid, detection and response to weapons and evacuation procedure in curriculum development," the bill reads.

 

It is being discussed in the Education Committee before it is taken back to the floor of the House for a second reading.

 

The curriculum developer, KICD, will also be required to develop learning materials to help reduce disaster risk.

on Tuesday, Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo said an anti-terrorism curriculum policy was long overdue and will go a long way in averting fatalities.

"So many things have been happening in our schools and despite parents' uproar and concern, nothing much has been done... If the policy is adopted the Education ministry also needs to do a need assessment to see what (tacher) training is required where," Maiyo told the Star yesterday.

So many things have been happening in our schools and despite parents' uproar and concern, nothing much has been done... If the policy is adopted the Education ministry also needs to do a need assessment to see what (tacher) training is required where
Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo

In April 2015, one student died and 100 others injured at the University of Nairobi's Kikuyu Campus following a stampede a power cable exploded. This caused panic among the students who were in their hostels.

The incident came days after a terror attack that claimed 148 lives at Garissa University the same month.

The same year, a member of staff at the Strathmore University died after a mock terror drill in the institution turned tragic.

In 2017, 10 learners perished at Moi Girls Secondary School in Nairobi after a night fire that razed one dormitory.

The changed curriculum is considered one way to curb unrest common in secondary schools.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Indimuli Kahi yesterday welcomed the proposal but cautioned that it needed to be taught within normal classroom lessons and possibly tested.

"We know that what is taught outside the curriculum in Kenya is not taken seriously and if it will be taught out of school work then we will lose it," Kahi told the Star yesterday.

He also called for proper allocation of funds and provision of learning materials.

Mental wellness

In a move to address the growing cases of mental illnesses, the Bill also seeks to incorporate psychosocial skills and strengthen guidance and counselling.

The training will address psychological, emotional problems or disorders that undermine learners' ability to interact appropriately.

This comes against a backdrop of an increase in the number of homicides among learners, more so in universities and institutions of higher learning.

Data from the Education ministry indicates that public universities are recording five deaths each month, mostly as a result of suicides and drug abuse.

The training also seeks to provide solace to vulnerable learners who have experienced violence, trauma, displacement and a daily struggle to survive.

It will cover learners in conflict-prone areas, such as those who have experienced cattle rustling, terror, inter-communal conflicts and family disputes.

"Things like family disputes might seem a small thing and normal in some setups. But they greatly affect learners that's why there is need to have a subject that will address such issues and help children grow informed on better ways to address and deal with situations," Education Committee chairman Julius Melly told the Star yesterday.