A photo of children waiting for the school to be opened at 5:30 a.m. has caused an uproar on social media. From the photo posted on Twitter by user Moseax, children as young as 6 years can be seen seated in the cold waiting for the gate to be opened.

This brings forth the raging debate on what time children should be allowed to go to school.

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Kenya Gazette 2015

According to the special issue of the Kenya Gazette supplement No 37 of April 8, 2015 under PART VIII – OFFICIAL SCHOOL HOURS, the stipulation under subsection 84. (1) that the official opening hours for all day and private schools shall be Monday to Friday-(a) 8.00a.m to 3.30 p.m. for class hours and (b) 3.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. for co-curriculum activities. Section 84. (2) States; No institution of basic education and training shall require learners to report earlier than 7:15 am.

Stakeholders have called for the government to enforce the rules because most schools require children to be seated in class by 6 a.m. Buses can be seen ferrying dozing children to school at dawn.

“Tight school programmes do not provide time for learners to think or play. School programmes should not make it hard for children to be children. Even as we maintain standards, we must not overstretch our children,” said the former Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed.

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Punishment to late comers

So who is to blame? Varying opinions have arisen with many claiming that parents should not allow their children to get out of the house before 7:30 a.m. However, others are claiming that whenever the children are late they get punished.

The public collectively feels something needs to be done to curb this, because it is detrimental to children health and well being for those who don’t use school buses.

Young children aged between five and eight are supposed to have enough sleeping time of 11-12 hours in a day. This is essential for their developing bodies and brain.