In a period of two months, more than 120 highschools have been burnt in Kenya. This is very alarming and raises the question of bringing back the cane in our schools.  In my highschool and primary days, I dreaded being flogged and still do, but looking back I have no regret about it.   I hated being flogged especially below the knees at the back of my legs.( Pardon my Kikuyu translation there but due to language marasmus of some sort I don’t know the name of that part of the body). Being caned there meant dark strips on my legs and being fairly lightskinned and discovering boys, a great injustice.

While some teachers will solve their issues on children’s hands and bottoms;  which is among the reasons why canning was banned, I must say it did good to some very rebellious students.

On a more serious note, the burning of schools raises the issue on the modes of punishment. I think we should go back to our African ways and pick that cane seeing that we are spoiling the Child. I know my readers from the West will disagree but seeing that all other methods have failed, we should bring back the cane.

I schooled at Ngiriambu Girls High School in the Central regions of Kenya. The name of my school is a mouthful I know, but I’ll have you know that it is a performing school, among the best in Nyeri County. Now our Principal did not spare the rod, the rate at which arson news are being announced like election results makes me question the   management of schools at this point and the involvement of teachers and headteachers in arson cases. She punished students with a Bible on one hand, and a cane on the other.

There were punishments like jaza gunia promotion, which meant being sent to the coffee plantation to deal with coffee and manure, Oh unto you if you were from “Nairobi.” You would fill sackloads of manure and decaying matter. This punishment also went to those who had low grades; B minuses and below also known in Kenya as B maina. So the B mainas and the B njoroges would meet in the plantations for the coffee celebrations which were supervised by the Principal with a rod in hand.

We also had the list of shame/fame which I once found myself in due to uniform issues, having worn brown instead of white socks. It was a list of fame for the guilty and the shameless,. who didn’t give a hoot, and a list of shame to everyone announced as it meant being mocked, laughed at, reffered to with sarcasm by every soul in school and lastly the coffee plantations. In this class of punishees went those who wore ‘wanderers’ ( blouses with torn collars), unbrushed shoes, those who scored Es and Ds,  skiving classes, running away from schoolm in which case  you were sent home for two weeks and required to come back with two barbed fencing wires then face the list of shame,loveletter and bigups writers and other problems known to adolescents. This list was announced every Monday and Friday in the parade ground in front of thousands of students. If I had a blog by then, I would have kept you entertained  so bad you’d wish to be in my school if only to experience those moments.

Basically our Principal knew how to tame horns, and it’s no wonder the school has been performing so well. Burning of schools should be stopped as parents are forced to pay whether your kid was involved in arson or not. They have to rebuild the schools afresh due to ignorant and arrogant kids. The cane should, in my opinion be reintroduced and punishment monitored.


4 thoughts on “Arson.

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  1. But caning is an act of bullying and an example of how violence must be maintained. Is there a compromise that you can think of? I know we have children in the US who simply feel so hopeless that they refuse to participate in their own education. These same students who fail in high school often come back as young adults when they have experienced reality and get their degrees. I do approve of learning to work on the farms, but I also question the human rights violation that the students who are caned are subjected to. Is there a way to teach responsibility to these youngsters earlier in their educations that would allow a new attitude of attainable achievement without undergoing shame.

    I realize that the students who behave in the arson must be punished. I would jail them. Unfortunately, that too is a form of shaming. It doesn’t teach responsible behavior but gathers non achievers together which creates a systematic hatred of the goals that are set by others. How do you fix a situation like this?

    The students who do these things are also bullies. They see the example of bullying and think they can make it work for themselves.

    Are some students just not able to achieve the basics? I don’t believe that is the case. I approve of parents having to pay to rebuild the school. I wonder at what kind of parent education you offer in your system. We have different programs here. Tough Love is one, STEP is another where parents learn how to deal with troubled kids. They learn to say no, to demand accountability and to set the standards that the children will be held to. Is there a system for parents where you are? Being a parent can be tough, and no one gives us a manual at birth on how to raise the children.

    I understand the trauma that the actions of the few affecting so many have caused. I taught for 15 years and found that the best teachers were able to make their children excited to learn. It must be taught in the first 6 years of schooling, and preschool is essential for children who need to make up for a rough start. Once children love learning, it’s hard to stop their success. Best of hard work and good fortune to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, canning is an act of bullying and was banned, people/parents/teachers have been jailed for it. There is now a debate on whether to bring it back. Some pupils are facing arson charges but the punishment won’t include jail term I guess. Here, love is tougher and will be posting on that later, a big cause for the arson cases is peer pressure of some sought. We also have preschool here during the first 6 years which includes baby class, nursery school and Pre-unit. Unlike in the West, boarding schools are preffered here which might be a contributing cause. This is an ongoing debate even in Parliament and the Country but majority are for bringing the cane back with monitored punishment. I guess will see where that leads us.


  2. I agree that something must be done to stop this mediocre behaviours. However, caning didn’t produce the best personalities either but instead hardened some of the culprits. I think it’s time we start questioning our parenting.

    Liked by 1 person

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