Society / Education
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 13:55 EATwmwaniki@kenyafreepress.com
From the persistent industrial disputes to national examination leakage and recognized mismatches between the school curriculum and industry needs, Kenya’s education sector requires far-reaching overhaul.
However, while the primary cause of the malaise has been identified as low government investment, teachers are not just innocent victims of the rot as their unions would want Kenyans to believe; they contribute substantially to it.
The Daily Nation recently reported of a shocking phenomenon, whereby some school headteachers take hefty loans from their school accounts, in some cases up to KSh100,000, and then fail to repay. This is nothing but corruption.
Teachers also contribute to exam cheating that undermines the credibility of our national examinations. Some have been caught in grossly unethical conduct, such as having sexual relationships with students. The media has reported so many cases where teachers have impregnated school girls.
The perpetrators of such crimes, however few they are, often go unpunished. Where teachers are punished for their misconduct, the punishment is normally so light that the wrongdoer hardly feels its effect. For example, teachers caught in sexual relationships with students normally get transferred to other stations, which means they just carry the habit from one school to next.
When a girl was found to have been impregnated in Ewaso Primary School in Laikipia County, the hunter became the hunted, the headteacher Ann Resiano who was trying to fight for the girl’s justice was evicted by the villagers. The Teachers Service Commission director in the county, Abubakar Hassan, who was aware of the case, did not intercede on the headteacher’s behalf. Such dereliction of duty only breeds impunity.
Teachers, like parents, are supposed to be role models. The perception of kids and how we build this country depends to a great degree on the nurturing by teachers. Teachers should be at the centre of efforts to reform the education sector.
Winfred is a student of journalism studies at the Technical University of Kenya currently on internship at the Kenya Free Press, specialising in education matters.