A Kenyan Catholic bishop has appealed to the government to prioritise the fight against drugs and alcohol abuse in the country, saying the East African nation was losing a section of young learners to the crisis.
Addressing the fifth annual gathering of Catholic schools heads in Nairobi, Bishop Paul Kariuki, the chairman of the bishops’ commission on education said the drugs were being encouraged in the schools by some adults for self-gain.
“The same way you (President Kenyatta) have resolved with determination to fight corruption, we appeal to you to deal with persons who target children for drugs and alcohol abuse. This is the only way to secure our children’s futures and our country’s future,” said Kariuki.
Last year, the National Authority for Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA) warned drug abuse in schools had reached dangerous levels. According to the bishop, interventional education programmes on prevention in schools could help alleviate the problem.
“The Catholic church is ready to collaborate with the government and other agencies in this regard,” Kariuki continued.
President Uhuru Kenyatta as well as Bishop Philip Anyolo, the bishops’ conference chairman, addressed the gathering, entitled “Parental Empowerment for Holistic Education”.
Anyolo told the head teachers that the recently witnessed cases of violence, sexual immorality, indiscipline, disrespect for authority and less interest in school work were pointers to a gap in teaching social virtues. He said these could be instilled with the commitment of parents, guardians, teachers and the society. He urged teachers to explore various strategies of building bridges between parents or guardians, the school, and the church.
“I believe this will yield the restoration of the social virtues as well as the educational outcomes that our society critically needs,” the bishop said. “These values are at the centre of Jesus Christ’s teaching in the gospels. These are the same values that should characterise every Catholic school.”
Kenyatta announced that he had directed the issuance of title deeds to all education institutions managed by faith-based organisations including the Catholic Church. The deeds are meant to protect schools land from land grabbers and encroachment.