Learning paralysed in three counties as parents eject heads
What you need to know:
- At Makhokho Boys, area MP Bernard Shinali led parents in demanding the transfer of the school principal Mathias Opisa, whom they accused of mismanagement.
- At Shibale, parents accused headteacher Mary Kubasu of running down the institution, leading to poor performance.
Learning has been paralysed in four schools in Kakamega County after parents stormed the institutions and ejected headteachers, accusing them of posting poor results in the 2019 national exams.
The affected schools are Makhokho Boys Secondary in Ikolomani, Shibale Primary in Mumias West, St Peter’s Muyundi Girls Secondary in Butere and Lukongo Primary in Mumias West.
At Makhokho Boys, area MP Bernard Shinali led parents in demanding the transfer of the school principal Mathias Opisa, whom they accused of mismanagement.
“We are here to eject the principal because he lacks capacity to manage the school. This has contributed to the drop in performance in national exams,” said Mr Shinali. He asked the Ministry of Education to post a new principal to the institution.
At Shibale, parents accused headteacher Mary Kubasu of running down the institution, leading to poor performance. They further called for an audit of school funds.
Mr Humphrey Kong’ani, a parent, said academic standards had dropped in the last two years.
“We have not had an AGM in the past two years and parents have no idea how the school is being managed. We presented our grievances to the education officer in Mumias but no action was taken,” said Mr Kong’ani.
Police dispersed parents who had converged on the school.
At Lukongo and Muyundi schools, demonstrating parents demanded the transfer of headteachers. Local MCA Geofrey Ondiro the Vicar-General of St Peter’s Muyundi Parish joined parents at Muyundi primary in the demonstration. They later presented their grievances at the Butere sub-county education office. They accused the school principal, Ms Sofia Majani, of mismanagement “due to absenteeism”.
“We want to save the future of our children, who are getting ruined by the poor management of this school,” said Rev Khamati.
Mr Ondiro said despite efforts by the community to improve facilities, performance in national exams had remained poor the last seven years with most schools scoring a mean grade of D-plus.
At Lukongo, parents complained of increased cases of indiscipline. They accused teachers of having affairs with students, adding that the school had never posted a mean grade of C and above for years.
Ms Christine Atieno said schoolgirls spent most of their time fetching water for teachers.
“They have turned our children into their maids, they are unable to catch up with lessons. We are appealing to the ministry to transfer the principals of Lukongo secondary and primary schools,” said Ms Atieno.
In Homa Bay County, learning was disrupted at Langoromo Mixed Secondary yesterday when some parents demonstrated against the school’s administration. The parents accused the principal, John Ayier, and some members of the board of mismanagement and corruption.
Mr George Odhiambo, a member of the Parents Teachers Association, said the institution has been recording poor results in KCSE since 2014.
None of the candidates who sat KCSE exams since 2014 had qualified for university. “We had hopes that children from villages around the school would pursue courses in different universities. Sadly, the highest grade a candidate from the school has ever scored is a C minus. This is below requirements for direct university admission,” said Mr Odhiambo.
In 2019, 24 candidates sat KCSE with a majority of them getting Grade E. In 2018, the school scored a mean of 2.478 in national exams. In 2017, Langoromo Mixed Secondary had a mean of 2.8333.
The disastrous performance of the school has led to some parents transferring their children to other institutions. Mr Odhiambo said parents had resolved to eject the principal and petitioned the Teacher Service Commission to transfer him.
“We have asked the TSC to intervene because the principal has declined to implement changes that we recommended. He implements things without consulting anyone, even awarding himself school tenders, which is against the law,” he said. Homa Bay County TSC Director Grace Amira said her office was aware of the grievances raised by parents. She said TSC plans to post a new headteacher to the school to improve performance. In Vihiga County, 300 pupils at Chavavo Primary failed to report to school after education officials closed the institution indefinitely due to poor infrastructure.
This is the second time the public school is suffering the fate after its administration failed to implement a directive by school inspectors on improvement of infrastructure. Acting headteacher Humphrey Kisato confirmed the closure, saying teachers and pupils were turned away on Monday.
"The CDF has helped us but we still need more support. Sufficient financial support is yet to come our way. CDF is currently building two classrooms for us," said Mr Kisato.
"We call upon the government to come to our rescue to enable our children resume learning. Our school has poor infrastructure."
Ms Abigael Kibigo, the chair of the board, regretted that children would suffer. "We need help to bring this to an end. Children need to be in school," she said.