State of School Safety in Public Urban Primary Schools: A Case of Kasarani Sub-County in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Wakapisi, Ruth Kiluyi
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School safety is an essential and invaluable element of the schooling process. Certainly no sound and significant learning can happen in a dangerous and risky environment to learners and teachers. It is of vital importance therefore that stakeholders in education promote school environments that are safe and protected to facilitate increased enrolment, retention and completion, leading to attainment of educational goals. The role of schools apart from providing education and co-curricular activities is taking responsibility as caregivers to learners. Various studies indicate that school safety is an issue that needs attention. In Kenya for instance, the instances of nationally publicized school unrests, dormitory fires and accidents have drawn national attention over the issue of school safety. The Ministry of Education in response came up with a safety manual and guidelines to ensure safety in schools. However, there is still need to look into safety issues in schools starting from the primary tier and recommend safety plans and measures to prevent injuries and deaths in schools. The purpose of the study was to determine the state of school safety in public urban primary schools in Kasarani Sub-county of Nairobi County with regard to the school’s physical environment and the physical safety of children while in the custody of the school. The study was guided by the following objectives: to establish the safety situation; to identify safety challenges; to identify the factors influencing safety and to establish the measures the schools need to put in place to enhance safety public in urban primary schools in Kasarani Sub-county Nairobi County. The study adopted a descriptive survey design and data was collected using three sets of questionnaires and an observation checklist. The target population was 26 public urban primary schools in Kasarani Sub-county. Stratified, purposive and simple random sampling methods were employed to get the required sample of the study of 10 headteachers, 80 class teachers and 400 pupils. Test-retest method was used to determine reliability of instruments. A pilot study was conducted before the actual study to determine the validity of research instruments. Data was analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze quantitative data while thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Findings were presented in form of frequency and percentage tables, charts and graphs. The findings indicate that the state of safety in public urban primary schools is poor due to the frequent occurrence of accidents in school. High enrolment rates unmatched with number of teachers, inadequate facilities and poor location of schools also reduce safety levels. The major recommendation was that policy makers should observe, check and assess the safety situation in schools and avail funds to enhance safety measures and increase school safety. Other recommendations are that the school authorities need to address the areas of concern, improve the playgrounds, safety measures and preparedness and train both teachers and learners in safety and first aid.