In Summary
  • A boarding school is not a place where parents can dump their ‘problematic’ children in the hope that their ongoing issues will be resolved.
  • School boards are supposed to play the role of strategic advisers to schools and look into the bigger picture concerning the welfare of the children
  • The government should also follow through with the threats of the National Land Commission to reposes any land grabbed from public schools

Kenya cannot and should not hide her head under the sand anymore. We have a problem in the education sector, specifically with boarding schools.

Whereas violence perpetuated by the youth is difficult to contain within the public, it has proved to be fatal when situated within a boarding school.

Using the latest case in point, at Moi Girls School Nairobi, some issues are obvious for the public to see.

The death of eight children in a school fire is a tragedy of national proportions. Much as the country may be facing severe cases of drug and substance abuse among the school-going population, there are many other factors that will need attention to streamline public boarding schools that will hopefully prevent any further tragedies.

In the United States for example, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that one in five children of school going age are affected by mental health issues.

What about Kenya? Do we have statistics, which can greatly help with intervention?

Adolescence is a particularly traumatising time for children, with so many changes taking place in their bodies and transition from childhood that they need special attention, otherwise they might fall on the leeward side.

Parents need to prepare their children to deal with separation if they choose to send them to boarding secondary schools. Children who have always lived at home will get bouts of separation anxiety and how they react to this stress may be unpredictable.

A boarding school is not a place where parents can dump their ‘problematic’ children in the hope that their ongoing issues will be resolved.

Whereas school personnel play an important role in early identification of mental health challenges, parents cannot take a back seat and or rely on schools to keep an eye on their children on this matter.

The factors above, combined with glaring gaps in school administrations can only cause parents sleepless nights.

Boarding schools cost a pretty penny, yet it seems children are housed poorly in cramped airless, windowless rooms. Who designed those dormitories that we saw in the paper?


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