"After the intrusive rage over the size of skirts schoolgirls should wear so that they “don’t look like nuns”, the minister is now on unqualified ban on tuition. Again, the minister has lit another fire on matters that should be left to schools and Parents and Teachers Associations to decide."
By Okech Kendo
The hyper Minister for Education may have an eye for detail, but he often focuses on the wrong priorities. This makes his running of the ministry increasingly intrusive.
Two instances – sizes of skirts for girls, and the unilateral and general ban on tuition – stand out. These operational details should be left to teachers and board of governors, who make up school management committees.
Minister Mutula Kilonzo is mistaking trees for the forest. He is downgrading his Jogoo House policy office to actual running of schools.
If a minister runs schools from up down that low, he would be competing with zonal inspectors, quality assurance officers, area education officers, district education officers, and provincial directors of education.
Junior officers have watched as the minister drives policy and meddles in their execution. These officers cannot tell the minister he is straying because they are scared he could bomb them out of positions.
The minister cannot do everything for schools. He should not even try to be the principal of Someni Secondary School. He should not because he does not understand the special needs of this institution. These special needs may also apply to other schools that may desire special interventions, like tuition, to complete.
After the intrusive rage over the size of skirts schoolgirls should wear so that they “don’t look like nuns”, the minister is now on unqualified ban on tuition.
Again, the minister has lit another fire on matters that should be left to schools and Parents and Teachers Associations to decide, based on the unique needs of their institutions. Non-examination classes, and other pupils farther down from Class Eight and Form Four, may not need tuition in the Mutula sense. But schools – and some do not have teachers, even for examinable subjects – should have the discretion to decide what is in the best interests of their candidates.
There are many schools without English, Maths and Chemistry teachers. Some have one or two teachers in these subjects who cannot spread their energies in three or more streams across four classes. It is not the mistake of these schools that they do not have enough teachers in the recommended ratio per pupil. Yet some schools, even with fewer streams, have more teachers than they need.
A blanket notion that schools and teachers should know when to begin, and compete KCPE and KCSE syllabi is easier said than done. And it takes much more than ministerial ranting about tuition to get it done.