A 13-year-old boy is fighting for his life at Mukurwe-ini District Hospital in Nyeri after he tried to commit suicide to protest forced repetition of classes by his teachers.
Evanson Muraya, who is a pupil at Kaharo Primary School, set himself on fire following the decision by his teachers to force him to repeat Standard Five for failing to acquire the “required marks” to proceed to the next class.
The Central Provincial Director of Education, Mr Peter Macharia, expressed shock over the incident and said he was investigating the matter and would issue an official statement later.
Speaking from his hospital bed where he is nursing serious burns suffered during the failed suicide bid, Muraya said he had been forced to repeat classes many times and he could not bear it any more.
His mother, Grace Wakiuru, confirmed that Muraya had been forced to spend three years in Standard Four and had also repeated Standard One.
Muraya said he was beaten thoroughly by two teachers after he was found seated in Standard Six. “The beating was too severe. I decided to end my life to escape such beatings and humiliation caused to me by being forced to repeat classes,” said Muraya.
His mother said the boy came home from school crying hysterically and told her that he could not bear it any more. She said the following day she accompanied him to see the head teacher over the matter but he refused to allow Muraya to graduate to Standard Six.
The mother said Muraya had been allowed to proceed to the class by the deputy head teacher but when the class teacher found out, he was taken back to Standard Five after a beating.
Wakiuru said after the head teacher refused to allow him to proceed to the next class saying it was his policy not to promote weak students, Muraya ran home ahead of her where he doused himself in paraffin and set himself aflame.
He then run out yelling for help and was saved in the nick of time by villagers who answered his distress calls.