Written By Jane Njeri Thuo
With the death of pupils Last week, seven Standard Eight pupils of St Martin Primary School in Kahuro, Murang’a County, drowning while swimming in the Indian Ocean.,the safty of children while on trips has become subject of discussions in the country. Many are wondering if extra precautions were taken if the death could still have happened.
This has hence made the Education ministry to be asked to craft a policy on school trips to avert deaths and injuries.
Kisii County Education Board Chairman Henry Onderi on Wednesday said the policy should spell out the purpose of a trip, the mode of transport and qualification of the children’s handlers.
He said the guidelines should explain how well the handlers are prepared to deal with emergencies.
Dr Onderi said during many school trips, children are left unattended by teachers. He added that many tours were meaningless.
“Trips for nursery school children do not make sense at all,” he said.
He was speaking at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology during the orientation of first-year students.
This prompted the secretary-general of the Kenya National Association of Parents, Mr Musau Ndunda, and other stakeholders to ask the National Transport and Safety Authority to be involved in school trips.
Mr Ndunda said NTSA should confirm that vehicles are roadworthy. “Children also need clearance to go to certain areas. The Maritime Authority, for example, needs to have more say in the control of the learners,” he said.
However, Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association official Charles Odida said teachers were not to blame for such tragedies.
“Children can be mischievous if they want to have fun,” Mr Odida, who is the association’s Kisumu County vice-chairman, said.
Mr Odida said the practice of students travelling unaccompanied by professionals like nurses could only be rectified by changing the education policy.
“In countries like Israel, professionals accompany students on trips. Lack of funds hampers that in Kenya,” he said.
Reference : www.nation.co.ke