Secondary school students are resorting to arson to create a diversion to enable them to cheat in examinations, school head teachers have said.
The teachers said the ban on third term school activities had cut access to examination cartels previously used to cheat.
They said students had resorted to setting school property on fire during term three to blackmail their head teachers into sending them home.
The break reportedly gives the students a chance to sneak back mobile phones and access examination questions.
“Some students just want to go home,” said Kahi Indimuli, the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) chairman. “Some students see this as an opportunity to sneak in banned materials such as mobile phones.”
He added that a number of school principals had fallen victim to this kind of blackmail and reluctantly allowed their students to go home.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has maintained that the ban on school activities during third term will remain in force.
She said the reforms introduced in the examinations sector in the past two years had played a major role in reducing irregularities.
Amina warned that the ministry would not wait for another round of school fires and directed head teachers to take preemptive action.
“All school principals, their deputies and boarding masters and mistresses in all boarding schools must reside in school to ensure effective supervision,” she said.
Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia said it was the responsibility of head teachers to tame student indiscipline linked to school fires.