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Students explain reasons for burning schools

Students from across the country have explained, in their own words, why they have so far burnt 114 schools in one of the worst outbreaks of arson.

A form three student at Adega Mixed School in Homa Bay, whose dormitory was burnt last week, blamed the torching on the Education ministry for preventing exam cheating.

“At a time like now in the academic calendar, candidates would have started collecting money and organising how they are going to get the final examination papers but this is not the case this year,” said the student who cannot be named for his own security.

This would tend to support the views of Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who says cheating cartels are fanning the fires.

The banning of third term prayers and limiting visits by parents and guardians was also a reason, according to a Form Four student at Homa Bay’s Samanga Mixed Secondary School.

“You cannot limit the number of times our parents and guardians should visit us, that is outright dictatorship. Some students come from poor backgrounds and we must have money for our upkeep,” he said.

When a Kaimosi Secondary school dormitory was torched on July 15, the administration said it was caused by seven Form Four students expelled for drinking while in the school.

Some students, however, said the fire was planned ahead and the administration was clueless.

LACK OF DIALOGUE

Another student said: “The administration is too strict on us thus widening the gap between it and the students.”

He also blamed the head teacher’s frequent absence from the school, making it difficult for them to air their grievances.

“Insecurity in the school is affecting us greatly. People sneak into the school and steal our belongings such as mattresses when we are in class. This is also our cause of concern because the administration has not addressed it,” said the student.

Students from Muslim Secondary School in Kakamega County claimed the burning of dormitories by their colleagues had to do with the manner they were treated by teachers.

The students said teachers were to blame for failing to embrace dialogue.

“When teachers fail to listen to us and try to suppress our voices, we retreat to our cocoons and plan how to hit back at them,” said the student.

From various schools in Nakuru, Narok and Nyandarua counties, students also revealed the forces behind the incessant school fires.

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