alexa Strict Matiang'i policies cause of school fires, says Raila - Daily Nation

Strict Matiang'i policies cause of school fires, says Raila

Wednesday July 27 2016

Cord leader Raila Odinga speaks at Gentiana Primary School in Nairobi on July 15, 2016. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cord leader Raila Odinga at a past function at Gentiana Primary School in Nairobi. Mr Odinga on July 27, 2016, while in the US, faulted education policies imposed on schools to curb exam cheating saying they have contributed to unrest in schools. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Cord leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday waded into the national crisis engulfing the education sector, saying stringent measures that were imposed on schools to curb exam cheating have failed.

Mr Odinga said the measures were imposed without adequate consultations, isolating students and teachers.

Two months ago, the Education ministry abolished traditions such as visiting and prayer days for candidates in the third term ahead of exams, events held ostensibly to instil confidence and reassure students of exam success.

Furthermore, the government also required teachers and non-candidates to stay away from schools during national examinations.

Now, Mr Odinga has said the measures have backfired because the "radical measures" were taken without adequate consultations.

In a statement to newsrooms on Wednesday, the ODM leader said the new education policies were designed to fail since they went against the advice of teachers.


"Besides, students are feeling unnecessarily targeted in the so-called war against cheating. There is no justification whatsoever for non-candidates to stay at home during exams and for candidates to sit exams without the benefit of having access to their teachers in between the papers," read Mr Odinga' statement.

Furthermore, Mr Odinga questioned the rationale of isolating teachers in the composition of a team to investigate arson cases in schools.

"The criminalisation of students and isolation of teachers is evident in the composition of the committee to investigate unrest in schools which comprises administrators in the Office of the President, CID, Inspector-General of Police and bureaucrats in [the] Teachers Service Commission and Ministry of Education.

"In the meantime, schools are burning each day and the safety of our children in schools is not assured amid loud silence from top levels of government," said the ODM party leader in a statement sent from Philadelphia, US.


Meanwhile, Mr Odinga has recommended a return to the old order, that is, rescinding the decision to ban visiting and prayer days in the third term, allowing non-candidates and teachers in schools during exams and reverting to the old school calendar.

Mr Odinga also castigated the Jubilee coalition's top leadership for its silence in the ongoing crisis, adding that it "deal with the problem of cheating from where it starts, Kenya National Examinations Council [Knec] which is the organisation charged with the setting, safekeeping and administration of exams.

"KNEC is the body that should produce the suspects and the people to go to jail when exams are leaked. It is the body that we should be investigating and reforming, not the candidates, the students and the teachers. The teachers, candidates and parents being targeted today are victims of the corruption and institutional failure at KNEC."

The former prime minister said consultations on education policies must involve parents, teachers, school boards, parents and teachers associations, and teachers' unions Knut and Kuppet.