Primary school headteachers have renewed their push for the termination of delocalisation and textbook policies, saying they are undermining the education sector.
They said the policy that involves deploying teachers away from their home counties is punitive and is breaking marriages and families.
The Teachers Service Commission started implementing the policy in 2017, but according to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), some of the tutors who were transferred quit while others sought employment in county governments.
More than 7,500 school heads are converging in Mombasa for their annual delegates conference. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha is expected to officially open the conference today.
On the textbook policy, the school heads said it is the duty of a teacher to select books for learners.
“A mathematic book for Grade 3 at Nairobi Primary cannot be the same as for a primary school in rural Wajir, because learners are at different levels. It was wrong to centralise the textbook procurement system,” Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said.
Procuring textbooks is a conduit for corruption, which should be investigated, he said. “Why do you centralise textbooks, and supply poor quality with so many errors? We are insisting on the reverting to the old system of the Orange book,” he added.
The Knut boss noted that headteachers were not consulted on some of the policies and threatened to name the individuals involved shady deals.
Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association (Kepsha) National Secretary Philip Mitei said the transfer programme must be done humanely.
“We want a human face put to delocalisation of teachers who have families. TSC should also address the issue of teacher shortages, raise capitation, look into children with disabilities and provide proper infrastructure for pupils with special needs.”
Mr Mitei further urged the ministry to train teachers on the competency-based curriculum (CBC) and ensure schools are protected from land grabbers.
Mr Sossion said teachers will only support CBC if they are trained. He said the curriculum needs conditional funding that should be wired directly to schools.
“The shortage of teachers and resources is real, but we know you levy additional money to hire PTA teachers. Capitation funds should be wired to the school account. Nobody should procure on your behalf at the ministry,” the Knut boss said.
The teachers also want the ministry to do away with the National Education Management Information System.
Kepsha National Chair Nicholas Gathemia said the conference will provide a platform for the headteachers to engage with the ministry, TSC and other key stakeholders.
“We want to discuss the current reforms, school administrators and their roles. The head teachers’ voices must be heard,” he said.
Headteachers have decried the mushrooming of private schools, saying they are threatening public institutions.
According to Mr Sossion, Kenya’s biggest education problem is privatisation. “The schools are mushrooming all over and some investors are putting up substandard schools next to every public primary to destroy our institutions. We must defend our public schools,” he said.
Mr Sossion said the ministry, TSC and unions must work together. “Can we sit with all stakeholders and do away with policies that cannot work, including releasing certificates to students who have not paid fees?”