Education experts in Kenya have listed the possible causes of indiscipline and school fires in Kenya. The experts have further given possible measures that must be taken into account to prevent the strikes in schools. Here is the must read article.


Analysis of the past Taskforce reports


Cases of grave indiscipline and violent unrests in schools is not a new phenomenon.

  • 19 girls perished in St. Kizito mixed school in 1991 when the boys raped them and set the dormitory on fire
  • 4 prefects died in Nyeri high school when students burned their cubicle in 1999
  • 68 boys burned to dead at Kyanguli secondary. It was reported as a case of arson
  • Approximately 290 schools, some were burned, went on strike between March and July in 2008
  • Most schools are currently dealing with spiraling cases of unrest and fires.

Task Forces and Inquiries

Taskforces have been established to look at the causes and Remedies

  • Commission to investigate Devil worship and Cults in schools Headed by Bishop Kirima in 1995
  • Report on the inquiry into the Education system of Kenya chaired by Dr Davy Koech in 1999
  • Task force on student Discipline and unrest in Secondary schools chaired by Naomi wangai ( Director of Education) in 2001
  • The Inquiry into Students Unrests and Strikes in Secondary Schools by The Parliamentary Committee on Education, Research and Technology Chaired by Hon David Koech in 2008


  • Electricity related – 1%
  • Others ( assisted by students)- 5%
  • Student(s) of the school- 5%
  • Mostly done by a few or sometimes one student


1)               Mock examination
  • mocks done when most school have not completed syllabus ( 80% )
    • Too many co-curricula activities in 2nd term
    • claim that mock results are used in the event that there is leakage in KCSE
  • that sometimes mock exams are not supervised well in some schools


  • Mock results should never be used by KNEC as a comparative measure
  • Mocks to be school based or for a few schools
  • Syllabus should be covered by end of second term and leave 3rd term for remedial and revision
  • Reschedule most co- curricula activities to 1st term and holidays.
  • Most of the recommendations above have since been adopted.

2)    Post-Election violence

–     some students witnessed and participated in PEV

  • Some became victims

-Many saw violence as the way to achieve results

  • IDP students were not assisted to recover Recommendations
    • Design a national healing process for students, parents and the society in General
    • Need to stop a repeat of 2007/2008 PEV


3)    Examinations Leakages and Irregularities
  • there was wide publicity about leakages in 2007 KCSE
  • an Estimated 40,000 candidates got two sets of 2007
  • Parents, Teachers and students had lost faith in KNEC yet no

action had been taken


  • KNEC should be overhauled
    • KNEC Act be amended to give stiffer penalties on exam cheating
  • Examinations be done when the rest of the students are not in school


  • Drugs and substance abuse/ Parenting
    • The youth are under serious threat from drugs
      • many students who commit arson were found to have been under some influence
    • Most parents take the kids to school too early (Absentee parents)
    • Parents lifestyle has changed ( some drink/ smoke before children, some

overprotective etc)


  • kiosks and bars near schools be banned

– NACADA should work closely with MOE and develop a structure of working


  • Students should be properly checked anytime they come into school
  • School workers be trained to play parental role in
  • Boarding should start at age 11years

( need to borrow from Muslims on parenting and spiritual growth)

5) School administration and Management

–   School Heads are appointed to leadership without prior training in Management and administration

  • High handedness of the school administration including uncoordinated punishments
  • Ineffective BOMs and influence by leaders and sponsors on appointments
  • Poor relationships between Principals and Deputies, Principals and Teachers, Principals and students.


– Teachers identified for leadership should undergo mandatory training with KESI for a period not less than one month before being deployed

  • Heads must build and encourage teamwork
  • Principals be strictly appointed on merit
  • TSC and MOE to develop clear policy on succession in school leadership
  • Punishments should be commensurate to the mistake
6)    Staffing
  • Most schools that were affected are understaffed
  • There is poor syllabus coverage in such schools
  • Some schools employ unqualified teachers
  • Wide grading and salary gap between teachers and principals( principal in R and teachers at L)
  • Non-performing Overstayed teachers frustrate the new principals
  • Recommendations
  • The Government to move fast to provide adequate budgetary

allocation for recruitment of teachers

  • TSC should re- distribute  the few teachers in the schools
  • All teachers in secondary schools  be qualified and registered by TSC
  • MOE and Principals to strictly monitor the staff to ensure they perform their duties


  • Curriculum
    • That the curriculum is too broad thus it is difficult to

complete the syllabus on time

-Too much emphasis on academics on evaluation at the expense of PE and other co- curriculum activities( other talents not captured)

  • Too much emphasis on University education( one considered a failure if the score is below university entry)
  • Holiday tuition make students built up frustrations, fatigue

and rebellion against learning

  • Poor choice of fasihi and literature books( Mayai Waziri wa maradhi na hadithi zingine ( gives a story on a strike being organised and a dormitory set on fire to punish a H/T)
  • The curriculum be reviewed with the view to reduce the subjects
  • Review curriculum to ensure students are equipped with life-long skills and recognition of student talents made paramount
  • Ban Holiday tuition
  • Set books should be fully screened
  • PE be made compulsory and create variety of co-curricular activities.
  • CATs be used to constitute 30% of the final exam
  • Create a body to place student candidates to various professional institutions after KCSE


  • Ranking of Schools
  • Schools are ranked in order of performance in National exams and
  • Some Teachers and parents use some unorthodox means to achieve the elusive Grades


  • While ranking is necessary for placement of students, Ranking of schools serves only to increase
  • The committee recommended that Ranking of schools be abolished and ranking of students, based on categories be retained


  • MOE Policies
  • The quota system of 85% from the Local has localised some schools making it easy for students to be used to protect local interests
  • Ministerial statements are often issued through the media without follow-up circulars or guidelines which make it difficult for administrators to enforce


  • A policy be developed to ensure admission of students cover a wider area


10)    Guidance and Counselling and Chaplaincy.
  • Most schools lack professional guidance and counselling staff
  • Guidance and Counselling teachers are also assigned teaching subjects
  • Lack of support to G&C teachers from Ministry and School management
  • There is moral decay among students Recommendations

-Professional councillors with no other duties be recruited and

deployed to all schools( teachers already doing G&C be trained)

-Chaplains should be deployed to all schools

-MOE and School management should fully support the department

  • Principals to undergo basic training in G&C


11)    Free Secondary Education Funds

  • Delays in the disbursement of FSE funds affects service delivery
  • Fees guidelines by MOE are unrealistic Recommendations
  • FSE funds should be disbursed to schools before each term begins
  • Fees guidelines should be based on
  • Government to device other ways of raising money for development in schools to ease the burden from parents


  • School Prefects
  • Most school prefects are selected and impost on students( spy for principal & D/Principals)
  • Some prefects play the role of teachers Recommendations
  • Prefects be democratically elected by students
  • Prefects be trained on their roles and responsibilities


13)    School workers
  • Non-Teaching staff play a critical role in schools yet they are ignored and play no role in decision making
  • School workers are poorly paid & experience salary delays( some

are on students payrolls)

  • Most workers are too old and most lack the skills( mainly the watchmen)


-School Management to ensure all are included in DM

  • Government to absorb school staff in the civil service scheme
  • All workers to undergo Trainings and in-service courses be encouraged


  • Communication
  • Breakdown in Communication provides a fertile ground for

unrests in schools

  • When students air grievances and no action is taken, strike

becomes the only way to communicate their frustrations

  • Students who speak openly during barazas are easy targets

for suspension incase of a strike


  • Have frequent open barazas
  • Students welfare and academic issues be addressed


  • Principals be accessible to teachers, students and parents


  • General indiscipline among students
  • Withdrawal of the cane and operationalisation of the

children’s act has promoted indiscipline with impunity

  • Influential leaders exert pressure on schools to admit errant


  • Some students are generally indisciplined


  • Review children’s act to incorporate emerging issues
  • Indisciplined students be absorbed into correctional schools( Government to build at least one per county)
  • That students involved in criminal activities be treated as criminals and dealt with in accordance with the law


  • Media effects and Peer pressure
  • There is allot of reporting on violent events by the media(


  • Some real and others imagined
  • Students want to emulate their colleagues
  • Some TV programmes encourage indiscipline among students ( TAHIDI HIGH)


-Need to regulate the media

-TAHIDI HIGH programme be withdrawn


17)    School Rules and Regulations

School rules and regulations are very important for order and discipline in schools

  • Students and parents feel they are developed by principals and

Teachers and imposed on them

  • Some rules are pronounced by principals in Assemblies( not written)
  • Rules are not standard for all schools in the country


  • Schools to involve stakeholders in formulating the rules
  • Students and parents should understand the rules and regulations before admission
  • MOE to develop standard rules for all the schools


18)    Poverty and School Fees

Education is very important to both the rich and the poor.

  • Education has become very expensive to many Kenyans
  • Absenteeism is very high as students are sent home to collect fees
  • National schools have become out of reach for poor students


  • The Government fully funds education upto secondary level
  • No student should be allowed to keep pocket money in the dormitories



Most schools were started by the community

  • As they grew, the schools employ people from far, admit students from far, buy goods from far
  • The community thus feel excluded from the school Recommendations
  • School administration should develop a rapport with the community including ensuring that the community is part of the
  • Encourage joint projects


  1. Run away indiscipline is a threat to education in Kenya
  2. Government( Executive, Legislature and Judiciary)and the school Managements must work together to stop the
  3. Ensure all the culprits are arrested and ensure that they face the

law( Don’t Punish the Principals in place of students)

  1. All recommendations by taskforces be fully implemented or others Formed to give further clearer recommendations
  2. Government and School Managers must wake up to the reality that times have changed

We must change the way we run the schools


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