Weed out sex pests from schools

Daily Nation Posted Tuesday, June 22 2010 at 17:52

The Kenya Secondary Schools’ Heads annual conference is being held in Mombasa this week against the grim backdrop of increased cases of child sexual molestation in schools.

Advisedly, the school heads plan to give the issue prominent consideration on their agenda list. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has said that only 600 teachers were dismissed in the past five years over allegations of child sexual abuse.

But according to a government report launched in November 2009, up to 12,660 girls were abused by teachers over a five-year period. The survey only took into account reported cases; many more go unreported.

Evidently, the TSC does not have a foolproof mechanism to pursue the culprits and ensure that justice is done and seen to be done. Consequently, many sex pests still prowl our schools, waiting to devour and destroy the future of many more innocent children.

The Commission has lamented the difficulty in proving cases against suspected offenders since many witnesses are usually hesitant to testify. As a result, many accused teachers are usually cleared of wrong-doing by the Teachers’ Service Appeals Tribunal due to lack of evidence.

TSC chairman Ibrahim Hussein has also blamed this situation on the limited mandate of the commission as provided for in the TSC Act. Attempts by TSC to hand over suspected offenders to the police have been resisted by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut). TSC would be working outside its mandate, Knut chairman George Wesonga has warned.

However, the few cases which go to court mainly suffer defeat due to poor handling by the prosecution or refusal by witnesses to testify. There is an urgent need to formulate and execute better policies to address this problem.

SAMORA ABISAI,
Muhoroni

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