Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha yesterday praised Maranda High School for directing that students reporting to school next week undergo a mandatory drug and substance test.
Prof Magoha also asked head teachers not to readmit students with criminal records.
He further directed that those engaging in homosexuality be barred from boarding schools and enrolled in day schools closer to their homes, and those already boarding be transferred.
“Right now, there are contemporary cases of children who are homosexual and lesbians, they must go to day schools close to their homes.
“Your responsibility should be for the greater majority and not a few individuals. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by children,” said Prof Magoha.
The CS said testing is the surest way of keeping students doing drugs away from school.
“A drug test is thoroughly in order because children are abusing drugs. We love our children and we do not do this because we hate them,” said Prof Magoha.
Through a message to parents, Maranda Principal Mr Edwin Namachanja directed all students to take the tests while at home. The school suffered an arson case early this month.
The tests must be done at a public health facility or by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada).
The students are expected to present test certificates showing negative results, on the reopening day next week.
The school will also subsequently carry out random tests.
But the new directive by the school brought confusion as parents are unaware of the cost of the test and where to have it done.
For many parents and students, they have to endure long distances to major towns where government chemists are located and they will have to part with between Sh1, 200 and Sh2, 700 for a single test.
Prof Magoha accused parents of not spending enough time with their children, hence their indulging in drugs.
“I urge parents to take care of their children and teach them to be realistic in life. Children need our time, not our money,” said Prof Magoha.
He spoke during a visit to Kisumu and Siaya where he met heads of national and special schools.
He later broke ground for Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) classrooms at Obwolo Secondary School in Kisumu County and Nyamninia Secondary School in Yala, Siaya County.
Prof Magoha said the construction of the first phase of the 10,000 CBC classrooms is on course, singling out Kilifi County for doing a great job, with 144 buildings under construction.
He expects the classrooms will be ready by April. The CS said the government will deal firmly with children who are involved in criminal activities.
He pointed out that boarding schools should flourish but left it to society to decide whether they should continue existing.
The CS also defended the CBC, saying it has changed the way children relate with their parents. He also promised that schools will be receiving capitation next week. The CS warned schools against sending away children with fee arrears.
“Should any primary or day school administration send children away for school fees, notify the ministry so that stern action can be taken against them,” said Prof Magoha.