Safety measures in public secondary schools in Kahuro district, Murang' a county, kenya and their effects on school safety
Mwangi, Jane Wanjiku
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The purpose of the study was to establish the safety measures being implemented in public secondary schools in Kahuro district, and determine the effects of such measures on school safety. The objectives of the study were to: identify the safety measures put in place to help reduce risks in secondary schools in Kahuro district; determine the effects of safety measures put in place on safety of secondary schools; establish the extent to which secondary schools in Kahuro district are prepared in the management of any emergency eventuality related to students' safety while in school; and determine the constraints secondary schools in Kahuro district face in the implementation of safety measures and management of emergencies. The study used a descriptive survey design targeting 36 principals and 7,314 students from all the 36 public secondary schools in Kahurodistrict. The area District Education Officer and the Quality Assurance Officer were also targeted. Simple random sampling was used to select 15 out of 36 schools. Ninety (90) students from the sampled schools were also randomly selected to take part. Purposive sampling was used to select 15 principals (1 per school), one District Education Officer and one Quality Assurance Officer, giving a total of 107 participants. Instruments that were used for data collection included: a questionnaire designed for principals and another one for students; interview schedules for the DEO and QASO. Before conducting the actual data collection procedure, a pilot study was conducted in two schools in the district to pre-test the data collection tools. Qualitative data collected was coded and entered in the computer for analysis using Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) and was analyzed and reported using frequency distributions, means and percentages. Qualitative data collected was analyzed thematically based on research objectives. Data was presented by use of frequency tables, pie-charts and bar graphs. The study established that 86.7% of the schools in Kahuro district were fitted with fire extinguishers, 60.0% were fitted with windows without grills while another 60.0% of the schools were fitted with ventilation and lit corridors. However, the study found out that most of the safety policies had been implemented in schools to a very small extent. For instance, First Aid kits were not easily accessible to most people, and school community did not undertake evacuation drills. Mechanisms for co-coordinating various disaster activities did not exist in the school. The study also found out that none of the sampled schools had smoke detectors. This clearly concludes that drills and evacuation measures were not fully implemented in schools. In addition to this, the study established that only two (13.3%) schools had set aside disaster management funds and another three (20.0%) schools had the emergency plan. The implementation of safety measures was attributable to various factors. These includes inadequate funds, lack of skilled personnel to train the school community on disaster management; poor planning during construction of school buildings; and lack of disaster management equipments and facilities. The study recommends that: The government, through Ministry of Education should provide schools with funds to implement safety policies in schools and improve on the coordination in safety policy implementation process; emergency drills should be conducted regularly to enhance disaster preparedness among the students', teachers, principals and the school community as a whole; school management committee should ensure that they set aside funds used in supporting of in-service training in disaster management; among other recommendations.