By Mary Kamande
Before independence, most of educational institutions were in the hands of religious institutions.
In the new arrangement, the Government would employ teachers and other staff for schools as the churches provided pastoral services to the school community. Often, the community, Government and parents would help put up infrastructure.
However, even as the role of the religious groups is laid out in the Education Act, some players in the sector feel the Church often overstep its mandate and interfere with school management.
Kenya National Union of Teachers Thika branch chairman J B Maina feels the Church often does not restrict itself to offering pastoral help to school communities. He says some interfere with the recruitment of staff and even brand schools with their names, yet they do not contribute in putting up infrastructure.
However, the Catholic Diocese of Murang’a Education Secretary, Father Paul Muriuki, says the Church’s involvement in running of schools is vital. He says the organisations are involved so as to aid in the holistic formation of character of learners.
He says religious groups are involved in the kind of religious instruction given at the institutions. He adds that sponsors must be given priority to recommend persons to become principals or deputy principals in the schools they sponsor.
“According to the Education Act, the Church has a say in the appointment of managers – the principal and deputy principal,” he says, adding that the chairman of the Board of Governors (soon to change to Board of Managers, if the Basic Education Bill, 2012 becomes law) is often a member of the sponsoring organisation.