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School CP - August 2001

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Sunday Nation, Nairobi, 5 August 2001

Caning Ban to Blame for Unrest, Says VC

By Sunday Nation

The ban on caning is to blame for the current unrest in schools, Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor George Eshiwani says.

Prof Eshiwani appealed to the ministry of education to rescind the decision "if discipline is to be restored in schools.

"The ban has led to most of the strikes in our schools. The ministry should act fast to arrest the situation".

The VC was speaking at Nangina Girls Secondary School in Funyula constituency during the Busia District Education Day.

He criticised the people in the district who were claiming that the widespread poverty in the area was to blame for the local schools' poor performance in national examinations.

Prof Eshiwani said: "We should address the real problems affecting the education sector instead of hiding behind the issue of poverty".

He urged politicians to take an interest in how schools are run in the district. He said they should make a point of attending education meetings. This way, he said, they would be able to identify the cause of the district's performance in national examinations.

Busia District's poor performance in the national examinations, Prof Eshiwani said, was mainly due to lack of commitment by teachers and parents. He said lazy teachers should not be allowed to continue messing up education standards.

The local MP, Mr Moody Awori, who is an assistant Minister for Education, said the Government was planning to establish more day secondary schools.

Mr Awori said day schools would save parents the agony of paying high school fees.

The Funyula MP asked parents to pay fees for their children on time as they wasted their learning time when sent home to collect the money.

Copyright © 2001 The Nation.

Corpun file 7695 at


Daily Nation, Nairobi, 11 August 2001

Rescind Ban On Caning, Says Minister

The ban on caning in schools should be lifted to control indiscipline in schools, a minister has said.

Minister of State Marsden Madoka said school children had become uncontrollable and looked down on their teachers following implementation of the rule.

"Occasional caning does help to put these children on the right track. Indiscipline is brought by lack of caning," said Maj Madoka.

Speaking at a fund-raising ceremony in aid of Utawala Academy in Nairobi yesterday, the minister also advised teachers to cultivate open communication with their students to reduce indiscipline and the incidence of strikes in schools.

He commended teachers in the school for their hard work which had produced good academic results in last year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations. More than Sh5 million was raised. Meanwhile, the Kenya National Union of Teachers is independently investigating the cause of unrest in schools.

Knut Secretary-General Francis Ng'ang'a directed branch officials to "link up with all relevant people in your districts" to establish the causes of the unrest and suggest solutions.

Copyright © 2001 The Nation.

Corpun file 7707 at


BBC News, London, 21 August 2001


Kenyan schools spare the rod

By Andrew Harding in Nairobi

In the past two months, a wave of unrest, arsons and even anarchy has engulfed Kenya's schools.

There is a very serious breakdown in law and order. The acceleration over the past six months or so, is I am sure is due to the caning ban
Headmaster Geoffrey Griffin

It is being blamed on the halt in corporal punishment imposed by the government in April this year, following the violent beatings of students.

Geoffrey Griffin is headmaster of The Starehe Boys Centre, perhaps the best school in the country, and he has been caning Kenyan children for decades.

"There is a very serious breakdown of law and order. The acceleration over the past six months or so, I am sure is due to the caning ban," he says.

"The kids now know they cannot be caned. They don't care about anything else the teachers can do to them and control, what little control there was, has been lost, I think, in a great many schools."

'Little control'

The worst case of violence by schoolchildren happened five months ago when arsonists attacked a dormitory in the middle of the night locking the doors and throwing petrol on to the flames.

Two pupils are now facing charges of murder for the fire that left more than 60 dead and several students injured.

I assumed most pupils would be happier about the caning ban, but I was wrong.

Polycarp Mutua is a 17-year old student and even though he was caned himself he said it was useful.

"The cane was used at the back of me. Actually it hurt -- it hurts."

But Mutua said: "When you look at primary levels, the children are very, very disorganised and caning is the only way through this. So I think caning should be brought back. It should be more directed in a way."


The trouble is there has not been much moderation in the past.

At least four Kenyan children are known to have died from injuries inflicted by their teachers.

The debate over caning rages on in parliament and in staff rooms.

But Lawrence Matolo, the new headmaster of the Kyanguli School in eastern Kenya, where the awful arson attack took place five months ago, believes corporal punishment is not the answer.

"What happened could not have been corrected by a cane. What you are going for is talking, talking to the students so many times, repeated until they get to understand what we say."

Corpun file 7684 at


Daily Nation, Nairobi, 28 August 2001

Cash Fiddlers Blamed for Schools Chaos


By Mugumo Munene

Embezzlement of funds, illicit love affairs and negative influence from the mass media and entertainment centres, were yesterday blamed by students for school unrest.

The students told a task force appointed by the government to investigate unrest in schools that politicians should stop interfering in the management of the institutions.

"Politicians should keep to themselves and leave us alone to study. Parents have also abdicated their responsibility to watch over us while we are growing up and we call upon them to change this. We need their attention," Rhoda Kisenya, a Form Four student at Moi Isinya Girls High school in Kajiado District said.

The task force heard that students across the board favoured a strong prefect system but maintained that those appointed to the positions should not be vested with sweeping powers and unchecked privileges.


The team began hearings in Nakuru on August 13 and ended its sessions yesterday.

Debate on whether the caning of students should be reinstated as a means of instilling discipline dominated yesterday's discussions.

The Starehe Boys Centre Director, Dr Geoffrey William Griffin, said: "Those who have strongly advocated the abolition of caning are human rights activists, including some of foreign origin. They point at the gross overuse of the cane in many Kenyan school. But is abolition the alternative?"

"My advice is that we should continue to permit caning, but strictly limit it and control it. Such controls should be publicised for all to see," Dr Griffin said.

He suggested that teachers who did not follow the strict procedures he suggested to the team, be severely disciplined or even dismissed.

Those against reinstatement argued that it was brutal and uncivilised to mete out corporal punishment to students and urged that other ways be adopted.


Copyright © 2001 The Nation.

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