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Schools yet to take insurance covers

By Kibiwott Koross | August 11th 2015
Bishop Sulumeti Secondary School Deputy Principal Annete Bakali in a dormitory at the school in Kakamega, which she said meets the required safety standards. [PHOTO: CHRISPEN SECHERE/STANDARD]

Parents continue to bear the cost of destruction of property in case of fire and unrest as most schools are yet to take up insurance covers, The Standard has established.

School heads who spoke to The Standard said the fees guidelines set by Education ministry could not allow them raise insurance fees.

The report of the Task Force on Student Discipline and Unrest in Secondary Schools known as the Wangai Report of 2001 recommended that schools acquire comprehensive insurance policy to cover property against fire and loss of life for students and staff.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kesha) national Chairman John Awiti said the cost of property destroyed in case of a fire or destruction during riots is often passed to parents. “It is unfortunate that most of these costs are often passed to the parents. I am aware most schools are yet to be insured due to lack of money. Head teachers can do nothing because we are not ready to have another fight with the Ministry of Education over fees,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Education, the recommended secondary school fee is Sh9,374 for day schools, Sh53,553 for boarding and Sh37,210 for special needs schools per year.

“I don’t know any school, especially upcountry, that can even think of insurance. We should not blame the teachers. I think this is a topic that should not be wished away,” said Awiti.

“We have never factored any money for insurance. We have been directed not to raise fees by the ministry,” said a principal from a top school in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Dismas Komen, an insurance agent based in Nairobi, said several schools had refused to take insurance cover, citing cost.

“Schools only insure their vehicles... mostly buses. I would advise schools to take comprehensive covers,” he said on phone.

While addressing an education stakeholders forum last week, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said strikes have led to destruction of property worth millions of shillings.

Prof Kaimenyi said from reports they had compiled, most students had rioted because of joint mocks, which he said are against the ministry’s rules.

At least 20 schools in the Coast region have been burnt in the last one month and close to 100 students charged with arson in Kilifi and Taita Taveta counties.

Student unrest has also seen a number of dormitories razed down in Bungoma County.

Some of the learning institutions that have been affected by the raging fires in the county include Chesamisi Boys, Khasoko Boys, St. Mary’s Kibabii Boys, Kimaeti Boys, Sang’alo Institute of Science and Technology, Mabanga Girls, Chebosi Secondary School, Mitua Girls, Kimugui Boys and Sikusi Secondary School.

Dormitories are mostly targeted during riots by the students.

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