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Ministry orders half-term break after wave of student unrest

The Ministry of Education has heeded headteachers' calls and ordered a four-day half-term break for secondary schools following recent student unrest.

In a notice issued Tuesday, the ministry has directed that the half-term break starts Friday, November 19. Students will then resume learning on Tuesday, November 23. 

"You are required to bring this information to the attention of all principals of secondary schools within your area of jurisdiction," principal secretary for Basic Education Dr. Julius Jwan said in the letter addressed to regional and county directors of education.

School heads had called for a half-term break to ease the pressure brought about by a demanding crash programme that has resulted in a wave of unrest across the country.

Whereas other terms have breaks, this doesn’t have one.

The crash programme has also had shorter holidays as four school terms have been squeezed into the calendar year instead of the usual three. 

This was done in an effort to recover the time lost last year when schools closed for ten months after Covid-19 was first reported in the country in March. 

The principals last week wrote to the ministry asking to be allowed to take the break as cases of unrest spread throughout the country. The chair of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association, Kahi Indimuli told the Nation that pressure from the crash programme has taken a toll on learners and they need a break.

Mr. Indimuli called for resumption of co-curricular activities, such as sports, drama, and music, which were suspended when schools reopened as one of the measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“We forgot that we have students who have a lot of energy and they look forward to participating in these events,” he said.

A disturbing video of girls jumping from the second floor of a dormitory to escape a fire as smoke billowed out of the windows captured the worrying trend that has been reported in more than 20 institutions.

The incident happened on Sunday evening at Buru Buru Girls’ High in Nairobi County. The cause of the fire has not yet been established and the school was closed.

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