INVOLVE PARENTS

Be more democratic, listen to students, principals told

School heads urged to come up with innovative ways of handling problems of 100% transition

In Summary

• Education official says the transition programme will help more children get attention from the government and must be supported. 

• Says state is finding ways of dealing with the challenges caused by 100% transition.

Teachers during the 42 annual teachers conference at wild waters in Nyali,Mombasa June 23.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI
Teachers during the 42 annual teachers conference at wild waters in Nyali,Mombasa June 23.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

Students need to be handled more democratically — principals and deputies are not the only bosses.

That's what principals and head teachers were told on Monday at the Kenya secondary School heads Association in Mombasa.

“We may need to do away with the old model management structure where the principals and their deputies are the only heads. The students today need to be handled in a more democratic manner,” Education ministry official Paul Kibet said.

He is director of secondary and tertiary education.

Students today are more knowledgeable and need different management structures to handle and support them.

Kibet also urged principals to come up with innovative ways to deal with problems brought about by the promise of 100 per cent transition to secondary schools. 

He said the government is capable of addressing all the challenges brought about by the initiative. It is addressing problems already but needs more time, he sai.

“An elephant has never asked for any help in carrying its own tusks,” Kibet said.

He spoke to more than 7,500 principals during their 44th annual conference at the Kenya School of Revenue Administration in Mombasa.

An elephant has never asked for any help in carrying its own tusks
Paul Kibet, director of secondary and tertiary education

The Kenya Secondary School heads Association had earlier said the 100 per cent transition programme has led to a sharp increase in the number of students joining secondary schools — with no corresponding increase in funding. 

 

They said this had led to schools using billions of shillings from their own resources to cope with the bulging student population increase.

They hire teachers through boards of management, among other steps.

On Monday, Kibet said the government is aware of the challenges and is working in overdrive to mitigate them.

“I know of a school that has converted its dining hall into classrooms. We are in discussion with the Kessha leadership to mitigate this and I’m sure policy direction will be given at the right time,” he said. 

He said the transition programme will help more children get attention from the government and must be supported.

“The child who cries will always get more food. When we have our children in school, we will ensure that attention and resources are channelled in that direction.” 

Last year, some 1,060,000 pupils sat for the KCPE exam.

Kibet said, “I can guarantee you that if those children did not transition to secondary schools and were not in a class, nobody would be bothered about them.”

He encouraged principals to admit the students to their secondary schools.

On the teacher shortage, he said the government is doing all it can to improve the teacher-student ratio.

The director encouraged principals to engage parents more in addressing disciplinary issues in school, saying they are an important major stakeholder but mostly ignored by schools.

He said more than 50 per cent of students confide in their parents, thus putting the parents at a vantage point in understanding what the students go through.

“We need to bring the parents on board in the management of the students,” Kibet said. 

(Edited by R.Wamochie)