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Female students need protection, warns FIDA

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[class in session. Photo/courtesy]

Federation of women lawyers Kenya (FIDA) has strongly condemned the rising cases of students especially the female ones against exploitation.

In a statement shared to media houses, the organization noted with concern the rising cases of female students being sexually abused by their teachers for various reasons calling on the Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha to take stern actions to avert the vice.

FIDA-Kenya notes that it is the Ministry’s responsibility, working with the National Assembly and other stakeholders, to develop and strengthen laws and policies, to increase access to justice, health, education, and social services that help protect children
and to enhance access to justice to sexual violence victims.

According to the FIDA chairperson Nancy K. Ikinu, schools are the second highest after the family set-up where children are sexually abused. The authority over children exhibited at home is extended to school and some teachers are using this authority to sexually abuse children under their care.

She further noted that cases of teen pregnancies in Kenya have been rising steadily with statistics from the Global Childhood report 2019 indicating that Kenya has the third-highest number of pregnant teens in the world.

“We would like to remind CS Prof. Magoha that school students are children and it is the duty of the state to protect them from sexual predators and to keep the learning environment safe,” said Nancy.

On July 17, 2021, in reaction to the high number of pregnant KCPE and KCSE exam students, Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha is reported to have warned female
students against agreeing to teachers’ advances.

Teacher advances towards students are categorized as defilement and indecent acts under the Sexual Offences Act.

“The most appropriate action is severe punishment for such teachers to serve as deterrence to other would-be violators. These children are victims and have a right to full protection while the perpetrators should face the full wrath of the law.” said the agitated chairperson.

Several laws, including the Children’s Act and the Sexual Offences Act, criminalize sexual engagement with children under the age of 18.

In 2010, the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) issued guidelines designed to protect children from sexual abuse in schools.

The new rules ban students from visiting teachers’ homes, warn teachers against using the promise of academic progress to
coerce children into sexual liaisons and stipulate that any sexual abuse of a child should be reported to the Commission within 24 hours.

FIDA also urged The Ministry of Education and schools to put up measures within their systems that will make it easy for victims to report abuse without feeling intimidated.