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July 20, 2018

‘Heads transfers cause of unrest’

Senate Education Committee members led by chairman Christopher Lagat (R), Nderitu Kinyua, Mary Seneta, Rose Nyamunga and Sam Ongeri called upon the Ministry of Education and Teachers Service Commission to halt the delocalization program of teachers to help stop the arson in schools. July 11, 2018./JACK OWUOR
Senate Education Committee members led by chairman Christopher Lagat (R), Nderitu Kinyua, Mary Seneta, Rose Nyamunga and Sam Ongeri called upon the Ministry of Education and Teachers Service Commission to halt the delocalization program of teachers to help stop the arson in schools. July 11, 2018./JACK OWUOR

Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general Wilson Sossion yesterday said delocalisation of school heads is the cause of widespread unrest among students.

He accused the Education ministry of implementing the policy without consulting other sector players and warned that it hurts learning.

Under the policy, no head teacher is allowed to lead a school in his or her native county.

The ODM nominated MP said tension would likely escalate if the ministry does not fix the problem swiftly and inclusively.

“The delocalisation of heads of schools was wrongly conceived and no one is keen to listen to us. We have seen destabilised management of schools which were performing well by having their management changed,” Sossion said at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.

“We know, from a professional part of it, this exercise will destroy education. These sudden changes are the cause of unrest. This is a combination of complexes and it is wrong for the government to avoid certain facts.”

On Tuesday, Education CS Amina Mohamed said headteacher transfers will continue undeterred.

“We are all delocalised. The deputy commissioner was just transferred the other day,” Amina said during her tour of Kisumu Girls’ High School.

“I went to a school where, from Form One to Form Four, the principal was changed three times. So this is not something new. I think for a long time we had given up on that practice.”

But Sossion accused the ministry of failing to include of ignoring their concerns.

“The ministry needs to work with central players. We need to restore normalcy because this issue has reached worrying levels. The policies need to be revoked and we start afresh,” he said.

“The kids have a constitutional right to express themselves but destroying property is unacceptable. Exams are not the cause of unrest. We support CS Amina’s effort, but Knec must get its facts right. By the time children demonstrate or burn [property], there must be simmering tension.”

Other MPs, led by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri urged the ministry and the Teachers Service Commission to implement reports developed in the past over school unrest.

The lawmakers said there was no need to form commissions of inquiry over the ongoing disruptions.

Ongeri said many reports have been published about arson and destruction of property in secondary schools, but most of them have not been implemented.

“We’ve had numerous reports even when I was the Minister for Education. Some of the recommendations have been implemented while others have not. We should analyse them and find a lasting solution to this problem,” he said.

Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga accused the ministry of transferring all the burden of repairing torched and destroyed property to parents.

“As far as we do not support these unrest, both the government and our parents should share the responsibility of repairing the schools damaged by our children,” she said.

Amina had said that parents would bear the cost of the damage caused by students, but assured that only the actual amount would be considered.

“We’re not taking up that expense because the money used to run our schools is taxpayers’. You can’t take public money and burn it,” she said.

“When you destroy property, you actually destroy the trust the public had in our public schools. We can’t continue funding criminal activities.”

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