Kipsigis Girls closed after students storm out of school

An injured Kipsigis Girls High School student is escorted home after the school was closed following protests. [Courtesy]

Kipsigis Girls High in Kericho County was on Sunday closed indefinitely following student unrest.

Kericho County Education Officer Rose Sagara announced the closure of the national school.

"The school is closed. We will inform you when you will report back," she said after addressing students.

The closure followed an incident where students stormed out of the school at dawn and walked three kilometres to protest the transfer of long-serving principal Juliana Kirui.

Mrs Kirui swapped places with her Moi Girls High School Eldoret counterpart Mrs Christine Chumba.

A students’ representative who requested not to be named said they were disappointed that Mrs Kirui had been transferred and replaced with Mrs Chumba.

"Our principal had steered the school very well. We don't know why she was transferred," she said.

Kipsigis Girls students take to the streets to protest the transfer of their principal. [Courtesy]

The student protest came as Chumba was scheduled to report to her new station today.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) Kericho branch executive Mary Rotich termed the transfer of Mrs Kirui as promotion but Belgut Member of Parliament Nelson Koech called on the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to reverse the decision.

"We will not sit back and watch as Kipsigis Girls High School is offered as a soft landing for principals who are rejected elsewhere," he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Kirui takes over as new Principal of Moi Girls High School Eldoret amidst questions over two cases of student unrest at her new work station.

The Eldoret-based national girls’ school was rocked by cases of student unrest – one happened in February this year and another one had been staged in 2019.

There were also complaints among Moi Girls students and a section of parents over stalling of projects such as the school swimming pool and condemned library during Ms Chumba’s two-year stint at the institution.

A board member at the school who declined to be named confirmed the handing over but defended the institution on stalled projects.

Kipsigis Girls students walked three kilometres to protest the transfer of principal Juliana Kirui. [Courtesy]

During the student unrest in February, a new battlefront emerged, with a section of parents pointing fingers at what they termed as “bogus Parents Association members” and an indifferent administration.

“We have PA officials who are no longer parents but they are still holding powerful positions. We have sought answers on why a parent whose student completed school in 2019 is still in PA. This is against the Basic Education Act, which stipulates that a PA official must be a parent of the school,” a parent lamented.

Last week, a Moi Girls’ Executive Board confirmed the swapping of Chumba and Kirui after a meeting.

“This is to inform you that Mrs Petronila Barasa, our Deputy Principal Academics was transferred to Mogoiywet Secondary School in Bomet and our Chief Principal Mrs Chumba was transferred to Kipsigis Girls with immediate effect. Mrs Juliana Kirui from Kipsigis Girls has already reported to Moi Girls,” a message to parents read.?