How safe are our children

By Titus Kariuki

Moi girls school students set to resume classes on Tuesday 12th June. This is after the school was closed for a week following a defilement incident last week. Moi girls’ schools has made news headlines twice all for the wrong reasons. Last week when a girl was raped by an unknown person , so many questions still surround that issue, one week down the line no answers yet, no arrest made. Who raped the girl? How did they gain access to the dormitories? Does the CCTV cameras in school work? If so was one caught on camera? Or whoever perpetrated the incident knew where the cameras were placed and knew how to avoid them?

 

Now the girls are to start there classes on Tuesday with no closure to the issue. Last year on February the school made headlines after a fire incident that claimed the lives on 9 girls. A report was done on how to make the school more secure but after the recent incident it is clear that the report is yet to be implemented.

 

This brings me to my question, how secure are schools? Safety of children is every child’s concern. Are our children, brothers and sisters sitting ducks waiting for another tragedy to happen? In July 2008, the ministry of education formulated the safety standards manual (Schools as Safe Zone), but have our schools been safe? However seems like people concerned are dragging their feet. No wonder, we have heard many avoidable cases that have ended pupils lives and destruction of property worth millions.

 

Who is failing us? The school administration who seem to be more concerned about the image of the school, grades and having a lot of intakes as possible, is it parents? Have you been to child’s dormitory? Do you know where he/she sleeps? State of classrooms, toilets, food? Or after paying school fees you are done playing your it’s up to your child to pass with flying colors and make you and the rest of your village proud? Is it the minister of education? Why is it that we haven’t had any arrest from rape incident at Moi girls? What’s the way forward to avert such tragedy in the near future?

Despite nearly a decade of the school safety standards manual, evidence generated by the uwezo surveys in 2014 and 2015 indicates that Kenyan schools are far from achieving the safety promise for our children. Only 54 percent of the surveyed schools have the manual, while 40 percent have operational safety committees. In mid-2016 one in every 20 schools have an operational fire extinguisher. In terms of emergency response 52 percent of visited schools did not have any member of staff trained on first aid.

Developing the school safety manual was a step in the right direction, without implementation it’s just a piece of paper and that’s why it is important that all stakeholders need to make a deliberate move in ensuring schools foster safety and secure school environments to ensure that our children have quality education.

 

Photo://Courtsey UNICEF

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