In Summary
  • Dormitories, libraries, laboratories, tuition blocks and staff offices have been set on fire in nearly 100 schools. On average, a school dormitory costs Sh6 million to put up and furnish.
  • In Kisii county Education officials have told the Saturday Nation that Itierio Boys’ High School suffered the greatest damage, valued at Sh15 million.

Parents in schools that have been set on fire across the country will fork out as much as Sh500 million to reconstruct them.

Dormitories, libraries, laboratories, tuition blocks and staff offices have been set on fire in nearly 100 schools. On average, a school dormitory costs Sh6 million to put up and furnish.

However, there are some schools that have lost buildings worth a lot more.

These include Kabarnet High School, whose grand building graces the back of Kenya’s Sh10 note, was destroyed on Wednesday night.

The Sh15 million hostel was named Moi, after the second President, since he is the one who built it and was the chairman for many years.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said parents will bear the full cost of the raging fires, putting a heavy burden on parents who are already complaining about high fees.

Baringo County Director of Education Daniel Mosbei said they will convene the board of management and the public works department who will assess the damages.

In Kisii county Education officials have told the Saturday Nation that Itierio Boys’ High School suffered the greatest damage, valued at Sh15 million.

Students have now been asked to come with Sh5,000 each. Last month they torched seven of their 12 dormitories just because they were told they could not watch a soccer match.

At Nyamache Secondary School, three dormitories were burnt to the ground. The total cost of reconstruction and students’ personal effects is estimated at Sh8 million.

Others like Itierio Girls High School, Itibo Boys High School, Matutu SDA, Moi Minariet in Bomet County, suffered damages estimated at more than Sh1 million each.

Kisii County Director of Education Richard Chepkawai put the damage at Sh60 million.

“Assessors are still compiling the details of the damage. But I would say the figure is close to Sh60 million,” he said Friday.

At St John’s Nyamagwa Boys High, parents were told to pay Sh3,500 for the reconstruction. The fire that destroyed three dorms in March led to losses of Sh7.5 million.

St Mary’s Nyamagwa Girls High students were slapped with a Sh3,000 bill for the damage.

“We are distressed at the level of destruction in the county this year. It is the worst outbreak of school fires we have ever seen,” said Mr Chepkawai.

County education board chairman, Dr Henry Onderi, said the fires will hurt the economy. Close to 7,000 students are at home following the dorm fires.

Meanwhile, 19 students were on Friday arrested after being linked to a dorm fire at Tabaka Secondary School, South Mugirango sub-county, Kisii County.

Kisii County Police Commander Agnes Mudamba said that her officers had obtained evidence linking three suspects to the crime.

The three were expected to be charged in a Rongo Court on Friday. Gucha South District Education Officer Nehemia Ontere said the lives of students were in great danger during the fire.

In Nakuru County more than five schools have been torched. On April 25, property whose value was estimated by Mr Joseph Kamau, a teacher, at Sh 2.5 million was gutted by fire at Kirobon Girls High in Rongai.

The fire burnt a form four dormitory and students’ belongings including books, boxes and bedding.

On June 3, a fire consumed the administration block and library of Shiners Boys High. School Principal Peter Kiragu said major assets were lost alongside cash in the principal’s office, stationery in the library,a generator, computers, mobile phones and text books all of which he estimated at over Sh30 million.

Kambala Girls Secondary School in Kuresoi lost property valued at Sh3 million according to a teacher. The teacher said each of the more than 200 students would each pay Sh10,000.

The Principal of Kongoi Secondary School in Kuresoi North Sub-county, Mr Geoffrey Koech, said the school will rely on well-wishers to assist students, sentiments echoed by Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi.

Kirobon Boys secondary director estimated the destroyed property at Sh2 million.

Education officers in Naivasha are waiting for a valuation report to establish the cost of damage at the torched Kiambogo Secondary School. Estimates put the figure at Sh3 million, following a fire on Monday.

The night inferno razed mattresses, beds, boxes and personal items. St Antony’s High parents in Narok North sub-county will pay Sh4,578 each for a Sh2.5 million dormitory razed by students.

School Principal Peter Kashu said parents of the 515 students will share the burden of reconstructing the dormitory and equipping it with beds.

Payments must be made when the students report to school next week.

In a letter to the parents, Mr Kashu said form two students will pay an extra cost of Sh500 for damaging window panes of the administration blocks during a previous strike bringing their costs to Sh5,078.

At Kipise Hills Secondary, Principal David Muriuki said a decision is yet to be made on whether parents will be burdened with the Sh2 million dormitory damage or not.

Narok North Education Officer Kuyo ole said the ministry in the sub-county will meet all head teachers, parent’s teachers association for a one day workshop in Narok high to try and unravel the cause of the unrest in schools.

Other schools burnt in the county are Ololulunga, Melelo, Oloomirani, Olchoro and Senchura Secondary.

“No government resources including Constituency development fund will be used in the repair of destroyed schools,” Dr Matiang’i told the Senate Committee on Education on Wednesday.

He said plans are under way to introduce an indemnity agreement between the parents and the schools.

He said parents will sign the agreement before the admission of their children to schools to deter such behaviour.

“Parents must have a serious conversation with their children about such unbecoming behaviours of destroying properties,” the Cabinet Secretary said, adding parents were no longer playing their role in ensuring that their children are disciplined.

He also said it’s upon parents and respective schools to carry out counselling’s of children affected by the unrest.

At the same time, Protective and Safety Association of Kenya, a lobby, asked heads of institutions to develop internal intelligence mechanisms of understanding how students operate, as the operations of burning of institutions are planned and properly coordinated by students.

The association’s Chairman Enock Alumasi Makanga said there was an urgent need for schools to allow students to elect their own leaders.

Reports by Ouma Wanzala, Aggrey Omboki, Eric Matara, George Sayagie and Macharia Mwangi