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Students burn down dormitory in protest over forced tuition

Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed at a secondary school in Kitui County after fire destroyed a dormitory on Sunday.

The fire is suspected to have been started by Form Four students of St Charles Lwanga Secondary School who were allegedly protesting against holiday tuition.

The 118 students were reportedly opposed to the three-week tuition after schools closed for the April holidays.

Principal Nicholas Muasya said the dormitory fire may have been caused by an electrical fault, saying he doubted that the students started the fire.

COMPLETE THE SYLLABUS

He said the holiday tuition was to help the students cover the syllabus.

“Even though there is a ban on holiday tuition, this was just our local arrangement with the teachers to help the students. We regret the turn of events and how our honest plans backfired,” the principal said.

The students were immediately evacuated and sent home by education authorities.

The incident attracted widespread condemnation from parents, who accused the school head of violating the holiday tuition ban.

Holiday tuition in both primary and secondary schools has been outlawed by the Education Ministry.

Parents will have to bear the cost of building another dormitory after the 56-bed hostel was razed.

Students’ beds, mattresses and other belongings were also destroyed by fire.

STUDENTS PAID MONEY

A parent, who requested anonymity for fear that his child might be victimised, said each student had paid Sh3,600 for the holiday tuition.

He accused the school authorities of disobeying the government ban on tuition.

County director of education Pascal Makite denied claims that his office had sanctioned the holiday tuition, saying it had no powers to selectively lift a government ban.

Mr Makite said he was not aware that any students had remained behind in the school, situated five kilometres from his office.