KNUT wants boarding schools abolished, resists corporal punishment

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has called for the abolition of boarding schools in the country to curb rising cases of arson and assault on teachers and other staff since January.

The union has also vehemently opposed plans to reintroduce corporal punishment of learners caught up in indiscipline cases in schools saying this leaves the safety of teachers at risk.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion spoke to journalists at Afraha High School in Nakuru after the members conducted elections of union officials from eleven counties.

Sossion said that abolition of boarding schools will see parents spend more time with their children and contribute to their holistic growth which may not be achieved in the current set up.

“Parents have a greater responsibility in the upbringing of their children. It is time we abolish boarding schools so that parents can take care of their children. Last year’s long break has exposed how parents have abdicated their roles on parenting,” said Sossion.

“We want parents to regain their parenting skills. The work of teachers is to impart knowledge and values to learners between 8am and 5pm. This should be the best reforms alongside employing more teachers and ensuring we have state of the art facilities in the schools,” he added.

He said that though this proposal is likely to be met with resistance from the private sector, they should view the matter from a wider perspective in the interest of teachers, learners and business.

“We know this is a lucrative business. If the investors resist, they should be ready for the chaos experienced in the past weeks of arson and assault that have left schools counting losses,” said Sossion.

He noted that developed countries have fully adopted the day school system calling for Kenyans to change their perspective on boarding schools at the expense of proper upbringing and education quality.

“Europe and the United States are doing this. We shouldn’t continue to live with the colonial mentality that girls should be confined in schools to avoid circumcision and to stop boys from engaging in cattle rustling and other alike activities,” he said.

The recent spontaneous burning down of schools and attacks on teachers by learners saw education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha recommend the return of caning of learners as punishment.

The teacher’s union has however rejected the move saying that this shall be counterproductive and advised individual teachers not to take up such measures for their own safety.

“If the government believes that caning will change badly brought up children, let them station a police officer in every school to do that. These teenagers will start mass killings of teachers. It is also against the rights of children which we stand for as a country,” said Sossion.

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