School heads may face tough penalties over withheld certificates

Tuesday February 23 2016

Kitui Senator David Musila.

Kitui Senator David Musila. He is proposing tough penalties for school heads who refuse to hand over examination certificates to school leavers with fee balances. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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Kitui Senator David Musila is proposing tough penalties for school heads who refuse to hand over examination certificates to school leavers with fee balances.

Mr Musila said he would sponsor an amendment to the Kenya National Examinations Act to punish headteachers who fail to adhere to the law.

“I want to appeal to all headteachers of secondary schools who are still withholding certificates belonging to former students to do the honourable thing and release them forthwith for the sake of our children who would genuinely want to pursue their careers in life,” he added.

He is yet to come up with the specific amount that would encourage teachers to do their job but at the same time not be too punitive.

The Wiper Party chairman said he was happy that the Teachers Service Commission had asked the school heads to obey the directive, which has the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Mr Musila said he had written to the Education minister urging him to direct headteachers to release withheld certificates.

He said he had now been forced to introduce fresh amendments that would target headteachers who defy the law, including jail terms and heavy penalties.

LIFE MISERABLE

“I have been forced to do so because [a] majority of the headteachers have continued to make life miserable for most of our children who come from poor families and cannot afford to pay the amounts of money they are being asked to pay,” he added.

He said he hoped the new amendments would bring the matter to an end.

The former Mwingi South MP had in November 2004 successfully moved a motion in Parliament that urged the government to release all KCSE certificates held by headteachers.

In response to the motion and after a court case had been filed, then President Mwai Kibaki ordered the release of all KCSE certificates that had been withheld up to 2006.