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School CP - June 1999

Corpun file 3979 at


Daily Nation, Nairobi, 26 June 1999

Dialogue a cure to student violence, teachers told

By Ngumbao Kithi and Mwikali Nzisi

Headteachers must initiate dialogue with students to stop the wave of violence sweeping through schools, an education official said yesterday.

Mr Joseph Obonyo, the senior Deputy Director of Education, attributed the rise in violence in schools to parental neglect, lack of closer supervision of student activities, drug abuse and pressure to pass examinations.

Mr Obonyo urged teachers to address issues affecting students' daily lives and identify cases of indiscipline and correct them before disaster happened.

The education boss said headteachers should develop strategies to manage changes affecting the youth as parents had shifted the role of bringing up children to them.

He said school heads must develop listening skills to handle the youth as the current wave of violence experienced in the education institutions was due to lack of adequate communication.

New approaches to handling students, such as by involving both the parents, teachers and the school sponsors, are needed. He said the largest contributing factor to violence in schools was parental neglect evident in some people's preference for boarding schools for their children.

He called on all stakeholders in the education system to review their roles and take a closer interest in the children. Mr Obonyo called for collective responsibility where the parents, teachers and the society care for the well-being of the children.

The education official was speaking at the closing of the four-day Kenya Secondary School Headteachers Association annual conference.

Some headteachers suggested that indiscipline in schools could be checked if teachers nominated a number of students for the post of school prefects and asked the school to vote.

He also suggested that to stop the wave of crimes in schools, the Education Act should be reviewed to allow all teachers to administer corporal punishment.

He warned, however, that no teachers should punish students without consultation with the rest of the staff to ensure fairness.

The headteacher of Ribe Boys' High School, Mr Ronald Wanje, said it was the right time for school heads to be insured following the constant threat of their lives by students.

He said he had developed initiatives in his school to ensure that there was constant dialogue to stop any animosity brewing within the student community.

The conference, which brought together more than 2,000 teachers, ended yesterday and some immediately left for home while others toured historic sites in the Coast Province.

Copyright Nation Newspapers Limited

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