Several schools in Nairobi and its environs have moved the half-term break reporting date from today to tomorrow, citing worries that opposition-called protests could endanger students’ safety.
According to the Ministry of Education Calendar, the half-term holiday officially ended yesterday, and students are expected to return to school today. But parents and teachers have expressed concern that letting the children attend school could jeopardize their safety, especially if the rallies turn violent.
Parents whose children will be traveling through the city have expressed concern that transportation may be disrupted, inconveniencing them. Learners from Nairobi who attend schools in the countryside are also at risk.
Raila Odinga, leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition, has called for rallies in Nairobi, which he stated will begin in the central business area and proceed to State House. Mr. Odinga has called for widespread protests to force the government, among other things, to cut the cost of living.
This week, the National Parents Association’s chair, Silas Obuhatsa, urged both Mr. Odinga and President William Ruto to engage in conversation in order to avert a crisis that could damage schoolchildren.
Omboko Milemba, the chair of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, had urged that the opening be postponed, but the ministry had not responded. The planned demonstrations were stated as the reason for changing the date by a few schools.
As others pushed the reporting date forward, learners at State House Girls High School had their break cut short and they reported back yesterday. The school is situated along State House Road, which was being patrolled yesterday by heavily armed General Service Unit officers
“Our school is so close to State House which is targeted by the demonstrators. We were asked to bring in the children today (Sunday) instead of tomorrow. They’ll be safer in school,” a parent said.
The Kenya High School Chief Principal Virginia Wahome on Saturday told parents through a text message that the reporting date had been changed.
“Dear Parent/Guardian. Following the planned demonstrations in Nairobi, we have postponed the reporting date from Monday March 20 2023 to Tuesday March 21 2023 by 3:30pm. We apologise for inconveniences caused,” read the message.
Makini School Senior Head Teacher John Muriithi also sent a message to parents informing them of the change of date.
“Please note that the school midterm break has changed and will run from Thursday 16th March 2023 to Monday 20th March 2023. School resumes on Tuesday 21st March 2023,” the message reads.
For Nairobi Primary School, which is also close to State House, there has been no change in the opening date. Boarders will report back tomorrow while day scholars will resume studies on Tuesday.