TSC Circular on Safety of Learners in Learning institutions

Article 53 of the Kenyan Constitution safeguard the rights of all children against all forms of inhumane treatment and punishment. This is amplified clearly in article 4 of TSC act of 2012 which provides that the commission in its functions and exercise of its powers will at all times takes into account the interest of learners.

Further section 36(1) of Education Act, explicitly states that no learner shall be subjected to torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, in any manner, whether physical or psychological.

The following are the most important issues that should be paid attention to as far as safety of learners is concerned;

1. Bullying

All forms of bullying should be eradicated from school. In particular, learner should be protected from any form of bullying whether physical, verbal or psychological. Students leader should not at any point punish other students.

2. Corporal punishment

Under no circumstance should corporal punishment or use of physical force to inflict pain, be administered to learners. All teachers are cautioned that any form of corporal punish constitute professional or a criminal offence and can lead to disciplinary action or prosecution in court of law.

Further, it will be considered a professional offense to keep canes in staffrooms, offices, classrooms or any part of the school compound.

3. Forced Repetition

Forced repetition is prohibited under section 35 of basic education act. All learners should be assisted to transist to the next class and complete a segment of education in a given cycle.

4. Holiday Tuition

All schools should operate within specific term dates issued by cabinet secretary for Education. No learner should be detained in school at the end of term or recalled before official opening date.

5. Prescribed learning hours

Head of institutions should ensure that all learners report and leave the institution within prescribed time.

6. Safety standards

All schools should comply with safety standards manuals for schools in Kenya. Physical facilities like classrooms, kitchen, dormitories, dining halls, libraries, laboratories, playing fields and water tanks should be appropriate, clean and well maintained.

7. Sexual abuse

Cases of sexual abuse whether within or outside the school, should be thoroughly investigated, documented and action taken with expediency. Where the offence is of both criminal and professional in nature, police and other security agencies should be involved in investigation. It is emphasized that head of institution and teachers will be in the forefront in protecting learners against sexual abuse.

8. Drug and Substance Abuse

Learners should be protected from exposure to drug and substance abuse through stringent surveillance to make learning and surrounding environment free of drugs. Guidance and counseling should be intensified to sensitize learners, parents and guardians on dangers of drug and substance abuse.

9. Harmful Cultural practices

Heads of institution should liaise with security enforcement agencies in addressing harmful cultural practices like child labour, early marriages for learners and exploitation.