Influence of ethnic clashes on education process among public secondary schools in Molo Division Molo District, Kenya
Kitur, Betty C
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The proliferation of ethnic conflicts in this country is so widespread that there is hardly any region where the problem has not reared its ugly head: Western, Rift Valley, Nyanza, Coast, Central, North Eastern, Eastern and even Nairobi. The necessity for a new vision in approaching the issue of ethnic conflicts and their management cannot therefore be overemphasized. From the recent experience as well as studies carried out on ethnic conflicts in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa, there is increasing evidence to suggest that even where it has been brought under control psychological trauma, that is, fear and suspicion, left behind are seldom healed, especially among children and women. This study investigated the extent to which ethnic clashes influenced the displacement of teachers, destroyed the schools' infrastructure, influenced the transfer of teachers, caused trauma and negatively affected the social interactions among the key stakeholders in school. A pilot study was carried out in Elburgon Division of Molo District where ten percent of the target population was used. A descriptive survey research design was used through determination of a representative sample of all teachers in Molo Division. Data was collected from all secondary school teachers employed by Teachers Service Commission within Molo Division. Random sampling technique was done by taking a simple random sample in each school and questionnaires and interviews used to collect data from the sample population. Data collected was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences. The statistical analysis included measures of relationships between the dependent and independent variables. The study established that a sizable number of the schools in Molo division had ever been closed due to ethnic violence. From the most recent scenario, however, no school in the division had been closed during the post-election violence of 2008. Instead, there was an influx of teachers and students from other schools in the neighboring divisions especially Kuresoi division where there was massive displacement of both teachers and students. One of the schools that was covered by the study. that is, Tayari secondary school had been established after the ethnic clashes/postelection violence of 2008 to absorb teachers and students who had been displaced from Mau Summit secondary school in Kuresoi division which faced closure. Education process in Molo division was not significantly affected by ethnic violence. However, due to fear of proliferation of clashes into the division. some teachers had to transfer but were replaced by those coming in from the volatile neighboring divisions thus creating a near balance in staffing. However, the good teacher: student ratio may have been influenced through accommodation of the displaced teacher. It is therefore recommended that the Ministry of education put more emphasis on the need to design other special programs to complement guidance and counseling. This would assist in curbing the psycho-social challenges that arise from fear caused by proliferation of ethnic clashes. Strengthening of continuous peace building efforts and programs at the school level will promote ethnic cohesion in areas that are prone to violence.