The owners of Precious Talent School in Nairobi where a building collapsed, killing seven pupils and injuring 64 others are staring at serious trouble.
According to Education CS Prof. George Magoha, there was malpractice in the construction of the ill-fated two-storey structure and the tragedy would have been avoided had the rules been followed.
Addressing the press at the scene of the accident, Prof. Magoha said owners of the school constructed an additional floor to the single-storey building without seeking approval, placing the pupils’ lives in danger.
“I have been to all the other classrooms and in my most humble opinion they are stable. So if a spade must be called a spade ahead of the investigations, you notice that somebody went and build another storey on top of the temporary structure. If you go ahead and do so without anybody’s approval I think we should be fair to each other including being fair to government,” said Magoha.
“If the owners of this school had remained with a single-storey building this accident should not have occurred. If we were working in an ideal situation, they should have come to ask for approval from the ministry which I can guarantee you they would not have gotten.”
The school owners could also find themselves in more trouble if they are found to have flouted regulations on school operating hours as the pupils including those in junior primary were in class before 7am.
“Anybody who goes against the ministry’s official hours for children to be in school must be answerable to somebody. Everybody must comply whether public or private,” said Magoha.
CS Magoha has since directed that Precious Talent School be closed for a week as investigations into the Monday morning tragedy continue.
“We have consulted and agreed that all the children should rest until next Monday during which time investigations will have been done, buildings reinspected again thoroughly by professionals, then we will give an informed advice that may go in the direction of perhaps children coming back to classes that are safe or going to public primary schools the furthest of which is only 2 kilometres away,” said Magoha.
He, however, sought to assure parents across that the country of their children’s safety in schools, noting that the Precious Talent School was an isolated case.
“The children of Kenya are safe in schools. We should not forget that we have close to 35,000 primary schools and this single tragic incident must not be used by anyone to instill fear in both public primary schools,” said the CS
Sixty-four learners are admitted at the Kenyatta National Hospital — 62 of them with soft tissue injuries while two require more attention.