Kenyan authorities have decided that the parents and guardians of pupils involved in the burning down of their school buildings must fund their reconstruction, The Standard now reports.
In recent months, Kenya has been hit by a spate of school burnings, a trend that has seen student arsonists set fire to their own secondary school dormitories and classrooms. At least 70 cases of students torching their school buildings have been reported this year.
In June, students of the Iteiro Boys High School in the western Kenyan town Kisii made headlines when they reportedly burned down seven dormitories – including their own personal belongings – because they were denied the opportunity to stay up for a few hours past their bedtime to watch a soccer match between Croatia and Portugal at the European football tournament.
The amount needed to renovate Itierio Boys High School has been put at about Sh8 million or $79,000; parents have now been ordered to pay the sum of Sh10,000 or $98 per student to fund the reconstruction of the seven burned down dormitories.
Parents at the Muhoho High School in Gatung South, which was burnt only two weeks ago, have been ordered to pay the sum of Sh10,000 or $98 per student to reconstruct the six classroom buildings torched by their student arsonists. Other schools have ordered parents to pay between $40 and $100 per student.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Education Minister Fred Matiang’i has imposed strict regulations on the transfer of students from schools involved in incidences of arson to other institutions of learning. He has insisted that students can transfer only after getting an approval letter from the Sub-County Directors of Education.
Matiang’i has also made it clear that parents would have to fund the reconstruction efforts as government funds meant for other projects would not be redirected to renovating school buildings that were wilfully torched by arsonists.
Parents of students in the affected schools have complained about the expected payments, however. One parent, Lawrence Kariuki, said:
“We feel the figure is on the higher side. It would have been good if the board accepted our proposal of Sh3,000 to Sh5,000 per student. Many of us cannot raise that kind of money. We are in fact yet to clear the fee balances.”