A headteacher committed suicide and scores of others were roughed up by irate parents protesting against poor results in last year’s KCPE examination.
One school head was badly injured, another was dragged out of his office and warned never to set foot in the school.
Six others were locked out of their offices by angry parents as the new school term started.
In a number of schools across the country, headteachers just went into hiding, fearing attacks from parents after their schools performed poorly, raising serious questions about the safety of teachers and school administrators.
Police in Narok County confirmed that the headteacher of Kalyet Primary School in Mulot Division, Mr Geoffrey Kiplang’at Sigei, had taken his life after the school’s results were cancelled by the Kenya National Examinations Council over irregularities.
Mr Sigei’s body was found by relatives in a tea plantation in Bureti District on Tuesday.
Before he committed suicide, the headteacher had gone into hiding after learning that all his 38 candidates had failed to obtain their results since their English and Kiswahili scores were cancelled, said Bureti police boss Smollets Munyianzi.
He initially sought refuge at a relative’s home and then said he was going to visit a friend on New Year’s day, never to be seen alive again, according to the police boss.
The family started looking for the teacher from the time he left the relative’s home until Tuesday, when his brother, Mr Joseph Sigei, reported the matter to Litein Police Station.
“His wife called relatives wondering why the teacher was not communicating to them. It was then that the family started searching for the teacher, only for his mother to find his body in the tea bushes,” said Mr Munyianzi.
The body was taken to Kapkatet District Hospital mortuary for a postmortem examination.
Another headteacher was attacked and seriously injured by irate parents who accused him of lowering the education standards of a school in Kakamega County.
The angry parents of Matioli Primary School stormed the school on Tuesday and attacked the headteacher, Mr Juma Shirovere. The incident disrupted learning at the school for the rest of the day.
A similar incident was witnessed in the neighbouring Itenyi Primary School, where angry parents blocked the headteacher from accessing his office — demanding that he be transferred.
Area education officer Luke Chebet, however, defended the two school heads and instead blamed parents for failing to cooperate with teachers.
He explained that Matioli Primary School had performed poorly because parents had failed to ensure that their children attended classes.
He said the class eight pupils had only appeared in the school to register as KCPE examination candidates early in the year and disappeared, only to resurface two days to the examination.
“The parents cannot therefore expect any miracle in performance if they failed to ensure their children attended school regularly,” said Mr Chebet.
In Kinango, Kwale County, the headteacher of a school ranked nearly bottom in the country was manhandled and chased out by parents who also warned him never to set foot in the school compound.
The headteacher of Makamini Primary School, Mr Seif Ngao Gonzi, had just reported to the school on the opening day only to be attacked by parents.
The parents accused Mr Gonzi of contributing to the school’s bad performance which saw the top student get only 243 marks and the last 87 marks.
Mr Gonzi, who also heads Makamini Secondary School, blamed the poor attitude by parents and shortage of teachers for the dismal results. He said the school had only six teachers with a student population of 700.
He also blamed early marriages and pregnancies among girls, saying that on the last day of the KCPE examination, two Standard Eight pupils officially legalised their marriages.
Five girls, four of them KCPE candidates, also got pregnant during the year.
At Siomo Primary School in Kericho County, enraged parents locked the headteacher’s office, demanding his removal.
“We cannot entrust him any longer with the education of our children. This is one man who wants to ruin the future of our innocent children,” one of the parents, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation, said.
The school, according to the parents, registered a mean score of 170 with the leading candidate scoring 250 marks. However, learning went on despite the absence of the headteacher.
Konoin district education officer Mohammed Simba said he had dispatched a team of officers to the school to address the grievances raised by the parents.
At Kapoen Primary School in Nandi County, headteacher Philip Rono was confronted by angry parents after the results of 29 candidates were cancelled over irregularities.
The parents demanded that the ministry take action against all heads whose schools had their results cancelled and accused Knec of victimising innocent pupils.
Trade assistant minister Manson Nyamweya supported the demands that headteachers whose schools performed dismally be transferred.
In last year’s KCPE, 334 stations were reported to have cheated. Some 7,974 candidates out of the 776,214 who sat the examination had their results cancelled in what was the worst cheating record in the history of KCPE.
Reported by Julius Sigei, Tom Matoke, Benson Amadala, Jackline Moraa, Geoffrey Rono and Daniel Nyassy.