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February 20, 2018

Arrest locals blocking transfer of school heads, Matiang’i orders cops

Interior security cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i addresses the county commissioners at the Kenya School of Government during the regional commissioners and ministry of education reforms workshop./EZEKIEL AMINGÁ
Interior security cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i addresses the county commissioners at the Kenya School of Government during the regional commissioners and ministry of education reforms workshop./EZEKIEL AMINGÁ

Acting Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Friday ordered police to arrest and prosecute individuals who try to stop the transfer of head teachers.

He said teachers, like other public servants, have the right to work anywhere in the country. Many more teachers will be moved to new schools, Matiang’i said. This comes amid an uproar by teachers’ unions, some members of the public and politicians, after the Teachers’ Service Commission transferred 557 head teachers.

On Thursday, six MCAs from Makueni county were arrested for blocking a new principal from accessing her office at St Joseph’s Girls’ High School. But speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, Matiang’i told off those opposed to the transfers, saying their actions amounted to barbarism.

He said one of the reasons Kenya has yet to achieve national integration is the notion that people must work in their home areas.

“We’ve established that some of these institutions have been doing illegal deals and some schools have millions of shillings in debt that have accumulated and can’t be accounted for. Those opposing the transfers are people benefitting from such schemes and we won’t allow that,”Matiang’i said.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers’ chairperson Omboko Milemba told the Star, however, that the union does not support the transfers, “as there was no transparency in the way the exercise was carried out”.

“Some principals have been moved not because they are from the same area or have reached the maximum number of years at the same institution, but were just moved,” he said.

Meanwhile, Matiang’i has ordered that all school buses be painted yellow by March 30.

Last year, MPs passed the Traffic (Amendment) Bill, which requires that all school buses be yellow. The law requires institutions’ names written in black and that the vehicles have all prescribed signage. It further proposes that the buses be fitted with safety belts designed for children.

Matiang’i, who is also Interior CS, tasked Traffic police to ensure the buses only operate between 6am and 6pm. These were part of changes aimed at improving the safety of pupils and teachers who use the vehicles.

form one enrolment

Matiang’i voiced concern about the low number of Form One students, who have reported to schools.

“I’m alarmed by the low turnout of students reporting for Form One in the Coast region. I’ve spoken to governors and county and regional commissioners so together we get more children to schools,” the CS said at the Kenya School of Government.

Matiang’i said marginalisation can only be fought through education

“Parents and local leaders must ensure all children of school-going age attend school without fail,” he said.

Statistics show the region has recorded the lowest Form One enrolment. Its performance at the 2017 KCSE examination was also poor. In Kwale, 754 learners reported, yet 5,568 slots were available. In Malindi, only 57 out of 240 places have been filled.

Haki Africa said on Thursday that Mombasa is recording an “alarmingly” low Form One enrolment. Executive Director Hussein Khalid said the county has been performing dismally because “officials are not serious”.

The lobby said while schools in other counties were hitting near-100 per cent turnout, Mombasa’s best was 49.7 per cent — Mvita Secondary School, where 104 of the expected 212 students went to school on Thursday, a week after schools reopened.

Also read:Matiang'i orders schools to paint buses yellow by March 30

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