Teachers and State on collision path over plan to merge boards

Wednesday December 6 2017

Head teachers record speeches on phones during the 13th Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association  Annual Delegates Conference

Head teachers record speeches on phones during the 13th Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA) Annual Delegates Conference at Sheikh Zayed Children’s Welfare Centre in Mombasa on December 5, 2017. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT 

By DENNIS LUBANGA
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By WINNIE ATIENO
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A row is brewing between teachers and the government over plans to dissolve management boards of schools sharing the same compounds.

This follows an announcement by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i that the boards of schools sharing the same compounds will be scrapped and one put in place to run both institutions.

Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) instead called for more consultations. 

On Monday, the CS said the schools will now be run by an overall principal with a deputy for primary and another for secondary school.

However, Kepsha national secretary David Mavuta and Knut executive council member Dan Aloo rejected the move.

The teachers said they have been sharing compounds and other amenities with their sister schools for decades without any conflict.

Speaking during the 13th Annual Kenya Primary School Head Teachers Association conference at Sheikh Zayed Children’s Welfare Centre in Mombasa, the two urged the Education boss to consult all education stakeholders before implementing the directive. “We reject the proposal for dissolution of school boards and merging them. The ministry must consult teachers,” said the union official.

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION

Mr Mavuta said the head teachers are waiting for official communication from the ministry.

“It has not come out officially. We don’t know, maybe the primary heads who have given the land will be the principals and then the secondary ones will be deputies. How can you come and take charge of my house?” he asked.

Mr Mavuta said the ban will be viable if proper consultations and guidelines are given, adding that head teachers do not know how the structures of the boards will be formulated.

The Mufu Primary School head teacher said he is sharing the same compound gate and a playground with Mufu Secondary School.

“We have never had any conflicts. Where would conflict come from? How come the Principal Secretary in charge of Education Belio Kipsang, who addressed us, did not talk about that issue?” he asked.

Even Knut officials are not happy with the move, accusing Dr Matiang’i of making reforms in the sector without consultation.

ILL-ADVISED ARRANGEMENT

Led by Eldoret East Knut Branch Secretary Sammy Bor, the officials said Dr Matiang’i reforms could bring down the education sector in the country.

“We want to tell Dr Matiang’i that this is an ill-advised arrangement. Let us first consult widely on this matter before reaching such decisions,” said Mr Bor.

Mr Bor blamed such pronouncements for the declining academic standards in the country.

“Dr Matiang’i must know that the purpose of having a head teacher in every school is for the smooth running of that particular institution. Service delivery may not be realised in the proposed arrangement. Dr Matiang’i would have consulted us,” he said.