Kenya: Church Calls On Govt to Hire Chaplains in Schools to End Arson

Bishop Maurice Muhatia, Chairman, Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops-Commission for Education and Religious Education has called on the government to hire school chaplains to help end arson in schools.

“We have noted with concern and there seems to be evidence that most of students involved in burning of schools are vulnerable children some coming from dysfunctional families, others are orphans,” said Bishop Muhatia August 18.

“We propose that there be some programs to form parents or care givers or guardian on parenting. This should be organized by the ministry in partnership with religious organizations and department of children to assist the principals in management… The religious organizations as well should be facilitated with time to implement the formation programs for children in all schools and thereby institutionalization of chaplaincy services in all our schools,” he added.

He was addressing over 1000 Principals, Education Secretaries and Religious Education Advisors from all the Catholic Dioceses of Kenya at the end of three-day conference of the Catholic Schools Principals Association – Kenya (CaSPA-K) on its third year running at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

He further called on the government to facilitate “some special training for principals in intelligence gathering to assist them and to build their capacity to tame radicalization in schools.”

Bishop Makumba of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru urged the government to absorb the non-teaching staff and ensure that they too are transferable.

“Some of the non-teaching staff who have overstayed in some of the schools come from the locality and operate like cults making it difficult for the principals to manage and administer schools,” said the prelate.

He also called on the government to fast track transfer of head teachers who overstay in schools.

“Some heads and teachers overstay in stations even when they are not adding value and transferring them sometimes is difficult because they have overstayed and therefore destabilizes schools due to their political influence. We propose that head serve in stations for about eight years maximum and teachers 10 years they be transferred,” said Bishop Makumba.

In his response to the concerns of the Catholic bishops and the school principals, Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i said the government is working with faith based organizations in training the principals to counter radicalization in schools. “We are working on a new scheme of service that would enable the government to post chaplains from mainstream churches in secondary schools from the next financial year,” said Matiang’i

Source: Catholic Information Service for Africa.