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Parents concerned as teachers prey on pupils.

figure By RUTH MBULA figure By VITALIS KIMUTAI In November this year, a teacher accused of defiling a student at Moi Girls' High School, Kamusinga, Bungoma County, was arrested after months on the run.The teacher allegedly committed the offence in June and is said to have defiled a 14-year-old Form Two student after summoning her to his office.

After the incident came to light, the victim told journalists that the teacher made sexual advances towards her when she arrived."He told me he had missed me but I told him that the only relationship I would have with him was that of a teacher and a student," the girl is reported to have said.

She claimed the man did not listen to her and that he forced himself on her.This is just one of the baffling cases of teachers defiling their students in schools.

DISCIPLINEDThe trend is appalling, and is giving worry to parents who have bestowed a lot of trust on teachers.As January approaches, many parents are concerned about the safety of their daughters at the hands of their teachers.

Last month, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it had dismissed and deregistered 32 teachers over cases of defiling and impregnating primary school girls.Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed maintains that TSC will continue to take action against teachers found culpable.

TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia asked managers of public and private institutions to be careful not to engage the sacked teachers."Of concern is that some of our headteachers and teachers into whose care these children are entrusted are complicit.

The commission is taking this very seriously and those found guilty will be dealt with accordingly," she said.But even with the assurance from the government, questions linger on why people who are tasked with the responsibility of taking care of the learners are turning against them.

Apart from teachers, boda-boda riders, close relatives and other people well-known to the victims have been blamed for the menace.It is a subject that many are being careful about, with those in authority keen to protect the responsible teachers from losing their jobs.

In Narok County, two primary school teachers have been interdicted for defiling their pupils.Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Narok branch executive secretary Charles Ng'eno told Sunday Nation that most cases go unreported.

"In most incidents, there is a collusion between parents and culprits to settle the matter traditionally. Elders ensure such cases do not get to court, so as to secure the perpetrator's job," Mr Ng'eno said.

But this does not deter perpetrators from continuing with their evil deeds. In fact, others join in the act, knowing too well they will not face the law.

The Demographic Health Survey report found that Narok was leading nationally in teenage pregnancies, the rate being 40 percent."While majority of the cases are perpetrated by non-teachers, we cannot, however, rule out their involvement.

We are still investigating more incidents," Mr Ng'eno said, adding that the union will not protect any teacher found guilty.He said teachers are like the second parents to children, and they will condemn by all means anyone engaging in sex with them.

In Kisii, a teacher from Gucha South has been interdicted. Kisii County Education Board chairman Henry Onderi says more cases are being investigated.

A case in which two teachers were busted in a lodging with two female pupils in Nyamache, Bobasi constituency, is still being investigated.Nyamache police boss Japheth Mwirichia however said they are still hunting for the sex pests who went into hiding.

The teachers had taken the Kigochi pupils out for a sports competition to Nyabite Primary in Nyamache when they lured two of them to a lodging and defiled them.A patron at a pub adjacent to the lodging raised the alarm.

Authorities say at least one occurrence is reported daily at major police stations in Kisii County. Most other incidents go unreported.

In Bomet, the cases involve teachers employed by the various boards of management in institutions that have not been registered by the ministry of Education."In Bomet County, there are 33 day secondary schools which have not been registered and are being managed under the parent primary schools, with BOM teachers engaged to teach in the institutions," Mr Dancel Kirui, a lawyer, said.

"In such schools, it is difficult to monitor and discipline the teachers involved in sexual exploitation of the female students. Most of those engaged are also college students and in some cases Form Four leavers.

"The most recent case in the county is that of Bukacha primary school deputy head teacher, who was two months ago arrested by members of the public after being caught red handed having sex with a class eight pupil.He was busted at the home of the girl's grandmother following a tip off from a member of the public who saw him tiptoeing to the home at 10pm as the elderly lady was away.

Mr Joseph Langat, a teacher at Chemakel Primary School in Cheplungu Sub-County, is battling a court case in which he has been accused of having sex with a female student at the school.The teacher, who is serving an interdiction, has since appeared before a disciplinary committee at the Teachers Service Commission and a decision on the matter is pending.

In the same region, Mr Benjamin Langat, a teacher at Chebonjirai Primary School, has been charged in a Bomet court with impregnating a Form Two student at Chepalungu Girls Secondary School.The teacher has since been interdicted by the TSC.

At Ngererit Secondary School, Mr Kibet Korir was dismissed from service after being found guilty of having sex with three female students at the school in 2017.Mr Korir appeared before the TSC Commissioners at a session held in Kericho County in September last year, which led to the dismissal after the girls adduced evidence before the team. He appealed but the dismissal was upheld.

PROSECUTIONBomet leaders - Governor Joyce Laboso, Woman Representative Joyce Korir, Bomet East MP Beatrice Kones and Kuppet branch executive secretary Paul Kimetto - have called for the arrest and prosecution of those sexually exploiting underage girlsDr Laboso said: "Those suspected of involvement in the teenage pregnancies should be arrested and prosecuted with a view to curbing sexual exploitation of the school-going children. Honestly, to imagine that a 14-year-old girl can sire a child at this time and age is beyond comprehension.

It is a matter that cannot be wished away but must be addressed as a matter of urgency." In Kilifi County, 13,624 teenage pregnancies were reported this year involving girls of between 15 -19 years with the majority of them dropping out, according to County Children's Affairs Coordinator George Migosi.

Ms Emily Mwaringa, the Mombasa County Reproductive Health Coordinator, says 3,000 cases of teenage pregnancies were reported in the county in the last one year."Sadly, girls as young as 16 years old are married off for several reasons including poverty index and ignorance while others get pregnant after being introduced to drugs at a tender age," said Ms Waringa.

Mr Edward Obwocha - the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers national secretary in charge of secondary schools - said that "much as the union does not condone cases of teachers having sexual relations with their students, most of the teachers had been condemned unheard"."Sadly, the system of investigations and hearing is skewed against the teachers, with most of the accused being condemned unheard," he said.

And added: "We do not condone cases of teachers sexually exploiting girls as that is immoral. But, on the other hand, we hold the view that it is important to give teachers a fear hearing as in some cases you will find, upon investigations, that the accused has been set-up.

"Data from District Health Information system shows that 7,182 girls in Nairobi under 19 years of age early this year.According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), teenage prevalence rate in Narok is 40 percent, Homa Bay has 33 percent, Samburu 26 percent and Migori and Kwale 24 percent.

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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Dec 16, 2018
Words:1476
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