A report by the Education ministry has revealed shocking details on bullying in schools and noted the need for solutions.
The ministry describes bullying as one form of violence in schools and states that in 2017, a collaborative survey led by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) ranked Kenya among countries with the highest levels of bullying in Africa.
“At the national level, bullying in schools in Kenya stands at 57 per cent for students who are bullied on one or more days in a month,” reads the National Education Sector Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2022.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha unveiled it in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The report also noted that several cases of school unrest and have resulted in wanton destruction of property and loss of life.
“In 2016 alone, close to 120 cases of school arson were reported.”
The document adds that school children in Kenya are being increasingly targeted by elements bent on radicalising the youth.
“The country has been experiencing increasing cases of disappearances as well as arrests of school-going children linked to extremist organisations,” it states.
Some of the factors the government says fuel this violence and extremism are heavy school work, peer pressure, lack of skills on the part of teachers and school administrators on early warning signs and detection as well as ineffective guiding and counselling support services.
The report also indicates that on average, drought affects an estimated 250,000 schoolchildren and 8,000 teachers annually, to varying severity levels.
It also indicates that child labour is still rife and rampant and blames it on poverty, ignorance, cultural practices and exploitation.
“Estimates show that there are 1.9 million child labourers in Kenya, representing 17 percent of minors in the country, with a majority being aged between 5-17 years.
“The agricultural sector is the leading employer of minors in Kenya followed by the domestic sector. Close to 82 percent of the domestic workers are girls from rural areas working in urban centres.”
The ministry is also concerned about child pregnancies.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicates that close to a quarter a million adolescent girls in Kenya, aged between 10 and 19, became pregnant between July 2016 and June 2017.
Regarding drug abuse, the report says cases are on the rise – the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) reports that the median age of children who admit to using bhang is 15.
Most of these children are Form Two students who are undergoing puberty.