Kenya’s government to employ school chaplains

Kenya’s government to employ school chaplains

NAIROBI, Kenya — Religious leaders in Kenya have welcomed a government move to recruit chaplains for all public high schools as a measure intended to improve discipline and staunch unrest.

The leaders say such a move would help promote good morals.

“This is a welcome move and we encourage it,” said Anglican Bishop Joseph Kagunda of Mount Kenya West Diocese.

The bishop said the presence of chaplains at two schools this past year helped reduce discipline problems.

“We have also learned that the students open up more to the chaplains than their teachers,” Kagunda said.

The chaplains will be recruited, hired and paid by the government. Kenya, which is 83 percent Christian and 11 percent Muslim, has no state religion in its Constitution.

Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru of the Embu Diocese said hiring well-trained chaplains who are pastors or priests would bear fruit.

“We have been blaming the youth but we have not accompanied them in the development of values and virtues,” Njiru said.

Unrest at Kenya’s high schools has been blamed on lax discipline, drug abuse, parents’ neglect and administrators’ high-handedness, among other factors. In 2016 a total of 483 infractions were reported, with more than 200 being arson-related. (RNS)