Report finds ill-fated school breached safety guidelines, recommends further investigations

Nairobi County Woman Rep Esther Passaris at City Mortuary consoling relatives who lost children in the collapsed Precious Talents School. Eight pupils died on Monday following the tragedy. [Jenipher Wachie/Standard]
The owner of a private school whose classrooms collapsed killing eight pupils and injuring 64 others was arrested yesterday as investigations into the incident intensified.

This came after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha revoked the license of Precious Talent Academy after finding that the school breached safety guidelines.

The ministry also invited the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate the school’s proprietor, Moses Wainaina.

Wainaina was locked up at Kabete Police Station ahead of his presentation in court today.

SEE ALSO :Developing story: Seven pupils killed as classroom collapses in Dagoretti

Police intend to ask the court to allow them hold Wainaina as the probe into the matter goes on. They also intend to prefer, among other charges, causing death.

His wife Freshia, is also being sought.

According to a source aware of the probe, officials from the Nairobi County’s planning department implicated in the investigations will be “dealt with” next week.

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The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti have visited the school as part of the ongoing probe.

Prof Magoha invited DCI to further probe the tragic incident after a preliminary report by the ministry’s investigations team showed that critical school safety guidelines had been breached.

SEE ALSO :Tears and promises in honour of eight slain Precious Talent Academy pupils

Among the recommendations of the ministry’s investigations was that DCI and DPP conduct further investigations on the school’s proprietor for possible criminal culpability.

The Quality Assurance and Standards Assessment report dated September 26 reveals that the school had a total of 923 pupils, yet it was licensed to only admit 340 learners.

Each class held between 32 and 124 pupils. The total enrolment included some 150 pupils enrolled at the school’s playgroup under the daycare section.

“The school had a playgroup with 150 children contrary to the regulations of the ministry. The play group children were below the recommended school-going age of four years,” reads the report.

The team also found that the doors of the classrooms were not fixed according to the recommended guidelines and that windows sealed with wire mesh.

“There was no fire preparedness, no fire extinguishers, no fire assembly point and there was poor natural lighting in the classrooms,” the report states.

The report was compiled by a team of nine education ministry officials led by the regional director of education, Jared Odhiambo.

Acting on the recommendations of the report, Magoha revoked the license of the school and ordered it closed.

“The high enrolment, lack of adequate and safe physical facilities coupled with non-compliance to other standards like qualified teaching staff, sanitation facilities and land size rendered the available registration certificate null and void,” said Magoha.

The school’s pupils will be distributed in neighbouring schools with Ngong Forest Primary School set to take in some 480 pupils.

Jamuhuri Primary School will be allocated 180 pupils, Riruta Satellite will accommodate 130. All the children in the daycare section will remain at home.

“We shall supply textbooks and desks to cater for the additional pupils in their new schools,” Magoha said.

Magoha made the announcements after touring more schools in Nairobi’s informal settlements, during the tour, the CS ordered Pama Academy in Kangemi shut.

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