Assessment Of Disaster Preparedness Against Terror Attacks In Boarding Secondary Schools: A Case Of Public Boarding Secondary Schools In Githunguri Sub-County, Kiambu County, Kenya
Gathii, Sophia Wanjiru
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The study was informed by the initial observation that terror activities targeting learning institutions are on the increase globally with some of the most recent incidences happening in the USA, Nigeria, Somalia, and in Kenya where the most recent attack on a university (Garissa University) left more than 100 students dead and hundreds of others wounded or affected in one way or the other. It had the key objective of performing an assessment of security preparedness against terror attacks in public boarding secondary schools in Kenya using public secondary schools in Githunguri Sub-county of Kiambu County as an illustrative case. The specific objectives were to assess the extent of terrorism disaster awareness in boarding secondary schools in Kiambu county, examine the perception of the stakeholders on the extent of preparedness against terror attacks in the public secondary schools in Githunguri sub county, examine the terrorism preparedness strategies in the public schools in the sub county, and to establish practices adopted to enhance terrorism disaster preparedness in the schools. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. It employed both purposive and probability sampling to identify respondents who were then interviewed individually and through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). Using descriptive statistics, the study’s key findings are that learning institutions and particularly public boarding secondary schools have existing security apparatus. These include employing private guards, construction of perimeter walls, regular inspections, compound tours, restricted access to school compounds, linkage with national and local security administrators and behaviour monitoring and control among learners. These can be key in managing incidences of terror attacks. The schools have some degree of preparedness. Still, there existed a feeling of lack of standard operating procedures and trainings/drills by all the stakeholders that were interviewed. These respondents reported a lack of solid policy and procedural frameworks on how to mitigate, prevent, respond to and recover from terror attacks when they occur. The above noted challenges were made worse by concerns over underinvestment in the required school security infrastructure. Hence, the likely occurrence of disasters, as reported, threatens the existence and functioning of these institutions. Based on the above summarized findings; the study concludes that there is a general feeling of vulnerability to terror related disasters which can be blamed on the common perception of unpreparedness in the schools. This poses a challenge to disaster management, which fully relies on the goodwill and confidence by potential victims in existing and recommended interventions. The study hence recommends investment in human resources, both in terms of employment and training and infrastructural capacity building, and policy interventions in the schools so which can strengthen their preparedness and resilience against terror attacks.
University of Nairobi
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