CS Ezekiel Machogu Reveals Plan to Change School Bus Design After Increased Accidents

School Bus
Parked school bus and vans

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Wednesday acknowledged the dangers of the current school bus designs which have resulted in grisly accidents.

Speaking before Parliament, Machogu revealed that the vehicles on the roads ferrying school children are not supposed to be used as buses.

"We take the chassis of a lorry and then say you want to buy a bus. The effect of this is that when an accident occurs, chances of it killing the students are high," he stated.

The CS further explained that school buses should be designed in a way to ensures comfort for those on board adding that the bus should not be from a vehicle used to carry luggage.

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu appearing before Parliament on Wednesday February 28, 2024
Education CS Ezekiel Machogu appearing before Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Parliament of Kenya

He revealed that a plan from the Ministry of Transport was in motion to ensure buses have a different design and are not similar to lorries. He, however, argued that the plan was being frustrated by a court case.

"The ministry was stopped from implementing that and I am aware that some of the school buses including those which are being used here and not anywhere near the standards as required. This is a conversation we should have a country," he remarked.

The CS called upon other stakeholders in the education sector to back this initiative to ensure no students are lost in road accidents. He also called upon the court to fast-track the case.

This matter had been raised by Nominated MP Kosgei Jackson Kipkemoi who argued that the ministry was risking the lives of students by allowing these buses on the roads.

Kipkemoi explained that globally, the standards indicate that institutions should pay attention to the frame of the bus to withstand different types of load and impact while on the road. He noted this was a move to protect those on board, especially the vulnerable like children.

"These school buses should have two mandatory features, these are emergency and comfort and safety. I am wondering whether the ministry and the government have established a must policy on all the management of schools that dictate how these buses are built," he stated.

On Sunday, three pupils tragically lost their lives in an accident in Kiharu, Murang'a County. The incident involved a school bus carrying 43 people.

This adds to a series of accidents involving school buses that have resulted in fatalities. In March 2023, a bus from Pwani University was involved in an accident around Kayole in Naivasha, leading to the deaths of over 14 individuals.

Data from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) indicates that as of February 20, 649 people have lost their lives in road accidents.

A photo of NTSA officials inspecting a vehicle on November 11, 2022.
A photo of NTSA officials inspecting a vehicle on November 11, 2022.
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