Hundreds of Kenyan schools face closure after Christian teachers walk out over terrorist fears

Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies

Teachers protest outside the parliament in the capital Nairobi

Almost 100 schools in Kenya have been closed and 500 more may be shut down after mainly Christian teachers refused to work because they fear terrorist attacks.

At least 95 public schools in the northeast of the country closed their doors to students last month and remain shut indefinitely.

More than 2000 teachers said they would not work in the wake of the massacre of 148 students at Garissa University College in April, when attackers from Somalia’s Muslim al-Shabab terrorist group crossed the border into Kenya.

Joseph Alessandro of the Garissa Catholic Diocese told Religion News Service: “Teachers left and did not report back, so some schools have since closed down.”

Although the region is predominantly Mulsim, most of the teachers are Christians who fear being the targets of further attacks on education.

One man who is doing his bit to help students stay in school is the deputy governor of Wajir County, Abdihafid A. Yarow. He is not a trained teacher but is going into Wajir High School to teach classes. So are some former high school students.

Mr Yarrow said : “It is very unfortunate, it is very unfair and the national government should do something about it.”

Kenya’s education ministry has confirmed the indefinite closure of 95 schools and says 500 more may have to shut down if teachers refuse to return.

Cabinet secretary Jacob Kaimenyi said: “We are trying our best not to shut down. Parents had asked for security in schools and the government has provided some.”

Christians were singled out by the attackers at Garissa University College, which is 90 miles from the Somali border.

After the massacre Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, said: “Gunmen from the militant group al-Shabab must be sent a message that attacks on schools, colleges and universities are a crimes against humanity and that educational establishments are designed as safe havens, deserving protection in exactly the same way in the Geneva Conventions as Red Cross hospitals.”

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