Terrors and criminal gangs have infiltrated primary and secondary schools, raising concerns about the safety of students, a government report shows.
Teachers are sharing extremist literature with students with the aim of radicalising them, the report by a special investigation team formed to examine the causes behind a wave of unrest in schools says.
The report, which was presented to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i recently, states that teachers, principals, students and boards of management confirmed the existence terror-related activities in schools.
“The percentage of stakeholders who admitted to the existence of radicalisation in schools was small but of significant concerns. The small number was due to the fear and secrecy associated with the vice,” the report reads.
It adds that one of teachers interviewed said he was uncomfortable discussing terrorism, saying students who had been sent away could come back and revenge against him.
“Investigations revealed that various measures had been taken to counter the problem of radicalisation. These included; transfer of suspected teachers, guidance and counselling of students and exclusion of those involved in the practice,” the report says, adding however that the measures are inadequate.
In one school, a student who had switched his religion was accused of molesting a primary school girl and was also found recruiting primary school children and giving them extremists literature.
“He had large amounts of money sent to him via M-Pesa as evidenced by records in his confiscated phone. This was sufficient evidence that he belonged to a larger network of extreme groups.
“In another incident suspected perpetrators of school unrest were also found with abnormally large amounts of money,” the report adds.
“A student was found in possession of over Sh50,000 despite having come from a needy background. He was occasionally able to buy bread for a whole class although he had not completed paying his fees.
“The source of the money was not clear and was suspected to be proceeds from radicalisation activities.”
It was also found that some students were members of criminal gangs such as Wakali Kwanza, Gaza, Wakali Wao, China Squad, Kingston and 42 brothers.
The team wants the government to investigate, crackdown and prosecute members of criminal gangs in and around schools.
It also wants the government to identify and rehabilitate those involved in criminal activities in addition to vetting literature exposed to learners.
“Students who join or are suspected to have joined criminal gangs and persons recruiting them should be investigated and prosecuted.”