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IRRESPONSIBLE LEARNERS

Review Children’s Act to end indiscipline – principals

School heads say in the Children Act, students are only answerable to their parents and the State

In Summary
  • The Children's Act is not anchored in the Ministry of Education, but in the Ministry of Labour.
  • Kahi said learning institutions must also empowered to deal with the indiscipline children.
A dorm on fire at Garissa High School on Monday last week.
ARSON: A dorm on fire at Garissa High School on Monday last week.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The law needs to be amended so undisciplined learners are held responsible for their actions, principals have said. 

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Indimuli Kahi said the Children Act of 2001 is not anchored in the Ministry of Education but in the Ministry of Labour.

“We must not only talk about the rights of the children, but we must equally talk about the responsibility of the students,” he said.

Kahi spoke during the opening of Kessha's 45th annual conference in Mombasa on Monday.

He said according to the Act, children can only be held responsible for wrongdoing by parents or the state.

“...in the Children Act, the students cannot be held responsible by learning institutions. They can break things, burn their schools and will eventually walk scot-free because nothing ties them,” Kahi said.

He said principals faced many indiscipline cases last year. More than 35 schools were torched, forcing the government to temporarily close the institutions.

“Parliament and the Ministry of Education must come up with rules and regulations to manage children’s actions in education institutions,” Kahi said.

 “We have a challenge with how the Act is being used to manage the discipline of our children in school. We have to question the responsibility of students. This will play a very central role in dealing with the issue of indiscipline among students.”

He said school heads and teachers have lost the power to deal with indiscipline conclusively.

“The questions we are asking ourselves is has discipline gone down? Are principals and teachers lacking the might to handle indiscipline issues? Where have we gone wrong as a sector?” Kahi said.

He urged parents to play their role in ensuring their children are disciplined, saying the issue requires collective responsibility at home and school.

He said many times parents will blame principals and teachers when the students get unruly so there is need to bring them on board to work together to address the problem.

“It is for this reason that we have invited the national chair of the parents and teachers association to participate and discuss the matter. We need to know if they are satisfied that their children are disciplined enough,” he said.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya