Over the past few years, students have set fire to hundreds of secondary schools across Kenya. Why students are setting fire to their schools has been the topic of repeated investigations by police, education officials, government inquiries, and journalists. These students tend to burn their own schools due to some reasons that may either affect them directly or indirectly.
These fires majorly occur when the schools are approaching exams and the real questions include but limited to; What cause the fire in Kenyan schools? Who is to blame or to be accountable for these fires?
Below are some listed reasons why Kenyan schools are burned
Some of the students who start these fires are under the influence of drugs. The main excuse used by students is that drugs make them more alert and raise concentration thus resulting to the passing in school work. Their exposure to drugs like bhang influences their thinking ability and eventually, they are unable to handle the pressure that comes with learning, school rule, and exams and as a result, they opt to chaotic behaviors. Some students use fire accidents to offer as a distraction to acquire drugs inside schools or some of those accidents are caused by sparks or lighter or matchbox when present.
2. Peer pressure
Bad company ruins good morals, during adolescence, many young people are easily influenced. Most of the time the urge of a student in high school, to perform a certain task is normally driven by peer pressure no matter right or wrong. In the case of burning school, some of the students that are usually involved, assist because of the pressure afflicted on them by their peers to prove they can also do it
2. Fear of exams/poor exam preparation
In most instance, the fires occur a few weeks before the exams, something that can be associated with poor exams preparation and exams phobia. Most of them are usually not well prepared for exams and the results will be dire to them in the long run. Thus to delay exams, they result to such measures.
In one instance in Nyeri High School, students locked four prefects in a dormitory and tourched it. They accused them of harassment and unfair treatment. Four students lost their lives just because someone felt that a certain punishment given to them was not supposed to be issued.
4. Poor school nutrition
Due to large numbers in high schools, especially public schools, food nutrition is not usually met by the institutions. Therefore, as a result of rebellion students may result to burning school property so as to be heard by the school of their grievances.
5. Lack of a voice in relation to decision making
Some schools lack the democratic system of administration or if any the student leaders are only puppets in the school. The lack of student representatives and the lack of response by the school in regards to student issues are also a concern to students. Thus students feel like for their problems to be heard then school property has to be damaged in most cases, using fire.
6. Social decadence
The rate of social decadence in the country has increased and society has developed crooked attitudes where people do not care as long as the issues surrounding them are not affecting them directly. A good illustration is where students buy petrol from people around the school surrounding. No one questions or gets bothered by the idea that a student in a school uniform is purchasing petrol.
7. Poor parenting
Some parents do not take the initiative to guide their children. It’s common to find that some of the students who plan to burn their schools have actually been suspended in other schools due to indiscipline. It’s not clear why some students are more indisciplined than others but family background plays a role. When a child lacks proper parental guidance then he/she will likely do what pleases them.
8. Teacher-student relation
Some teachers are biased in the way they relate to students. Some students may be treated favorably and others in the harshest way possible. Those that are not treated well by a certain teacher are normally the ones who result in burning either school property or a teacher’s property for revenge.