FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2015
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The Education ministry is coming up with measures to deal with insecurity, radicalisation and extremism in learning institutions.Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said on Thursday the top priority is reviewing the learning curriculum to give students self-protection skills.The focus will be on primary and secondary schools.“Our children must be trained to protect themselves. We had four people against 200 in Garissa (University College). At least they would have defended themselves. May be we could have averted the tragedy. This should form part of our curriculum," he said.
Prof Kaimenyi said most institutions are not observing the ministry’s security policies, such as having no grills on windows and doors opening to the outside.Secondary and Tertiary Education Director Robert Masese said the ministry has drafted a road map that would monitor religious practices in learning institutions.He said radicalisation and extremism were not selective on religion as the public would think.“We need to know who is preaching to our children, regardless of the religious inclination. For us it does not matter if they are Christians or Muslims,” the director said.Mr Masese said unregulated night vigils, commonly known as "kesha", would be regulated by guidelines that the ministry is working on after consultations with stakeholders.In the curriculum review, the ministry will expect teachers to sensitise children on how to make rational judgments in regard to any information they may have.“We want to sensitise schools in this challenge facing not only Kenya but the world. Teachers would empower children to act on misinformation because they are young and they may not understand what they are doing,” the director said.
ACCOUNT FOR MISSING PUPILS
Besides, school heads will be required to account for any missing pupils.Mr Masese said pupils go missing for four to six months yet some school heads do not see it as a serious concern. They think “he is just a naughty boy”.Mr Masese’s sentiments come at a time when police are releasing names of terror suspects, who do not seem to have an Islamic religious background, which is perceived as breeding extremism.Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said a road map to tackling radicalisation is ready for sharing with Parliament and input would be sought before it is put into effect.Dr Kipsang downplayed the clamour for the return of ranking schools based on their performance in national examinations, saying it has a bearing on radicalisation.He said the public may not know that when pupils are under pressure to perform, some of them drop out of school at a tender age, making them vulnerable to alternative teachings.Tackling radicalisation is schools comes at a time when three girls, two of whom are said to be university students, are facing charges of terrorism after they were arrested at Elwak, allegedly heading to Somalia.The three "Al-Shabaab brides" have denied links with the Somalia-based terrorist group, which has claimed responsibility for more than 100 attacks in the country since the Kenya Defence Forces pursued the extremists.The ministry’s officials were speaking during a two-day consultative meeting between the ministry and National Assembly's Committee on Education at Serena Beach Hotel in Momba