Possible Factors and Causes of School Fires and Strikes in Kenya

By Anthony M. Wanjohi:

School strikes, culminating in school burning are not new in Kenya. Right from 1980s, through 1990s to date, school fires and strikes have continued to be widespread in Kenya. The experiences of raping of girls in St. Kizito school, fires of Kyanguli, burning of prefects in Nyeri high school among various other memorable negative school incidences are not new.

Today, we are seeing the repeat of the experiences of yester years with over 100 schools in flames. Setting of commissions to establish the root causes characterizes the climax and is typical in developing countries like Kenya. The irony lies in the implementation of the commission’s findings. At the beginning, the momentum is recognizable, but as time rolls on, the zeal burns out and the momentum is lost. Thus, sustainability lacks!

But what could be the real factors or causes of school fires and strikes in Kenya? We must recognize that causes are far different from factors. Social decadence for instance, is a factor of school fires and strikes but may not necessarily be a cause. Of immediate interest are the causes but factors are equally and far much important to be interrogated since they are the root causes.

In my view, the major factors of school fires and strikes in schools in Kenya include but may not be limited to the following:

  1. Social decadence: Kenya’s society is one that has skewed attitudes, “a don’t-care attitude”; is a society that has lost morals among its youth, even adults. The students get supported in their ways by the very members of society, they purchase fuel to burn and get supplied with drugs by the very society,
  2. “Freedoms-Ridden-Society”: Kenya’s society is a society that has lost its value system, is a society highly characterized by “blind freedoms”, is a society aping the values of highly developed societies like western cultures,
  3. Lack of Parental Guidance (Home related factors): Parental involvement in the child integral growth is highly skewed in our society,
  4. School related factors: These range from school management style to school environment, lack of guidance and counselling in schools among other school related factors,
  5. Students’ Characteristics: there are individual student’s characteristics of personality and student’s indiscipline, could be genetically and environmentally engineered elements of wickedness,
  6. Peer pressure: Youth is a period characterized by “influences”. Wave of school burning is likely to influence the trend.

The causes of strikes in Kenya have their roots in the very factors. Causes of burning of schools are just but “small yet big issues” here and there which serve as “triggers”. These may include but not limited to being denied to watch a football match, poorly prepared food, high-handedness of the management (punishments), lack of dialogue, short term directives by education ministry and school management bodies, exam pressure, students’ general indiscipline, sabotage, among others. The litany of causes may go on and on.

To address the issue of school fires and strikes in Kenya, there is need therefore to map all the root causes (factors) in order to design and implement school and home-based programmes that are all-stakeholders-inclusive.


Wanjohi, A.M. (2016). Possible Factors and Causes of School Fires and Strikes in Kenya. Available at: https://www.schoolsnetkenya.com/possible-factors-and-causes-of-school-fires-and-strikes-in-kenya/