It is wrong for parents to reject head teachers on flimsy excuses

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu during a past presser. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Every organisation uses performance management. On the teachers' ability to perform in the education sector, learners' performance is the most outstanding tenet that is used to measure teachers' ability.

The problem is, most parents and stakeholders only address teachers' performance at the tail-end of the learning process instead of creating an environment that motivates and involves teachers to do outstanding work.

When learners excel, teachers are lauded. When performance is low and unsatisfactory, teachers are blamed. There is need to establish a performance monitoring structure in which parents have a clear role to play so that both blame and praises are shared among all players.

Parents forget that the very purpose of teacher performance monitoring in which they are involved is to prevent serious problems and promote positive, cohesive, embracive workforce behaviours that drive productivity and success.

We have noted that in the process of localising head teachers after the repeal of the unpopular delocalisation policy, communities are ganging up to block and deny localised teachers their landing rights. Purported reasons for the rejection are; inability to perform well, poor management skills and bad track records. This is unfortunate, demeaning and selfish. We wish to inform parent communities that attaining good results and proper management of our learning institutions involves teachers, learners and parents.

Critical questions must be asked of the small cliques of self-seeking parents who are always at school gates blocking teachers from accessing school premises and discharging their duties as assigned.

At what point do they realise the trajectory towards bad performance? Do these parents have a structured platform to address foreseeable challenges in performance? In the course of learning within a prescribed time-frame, do these parents ever interact with their own children? Do these parents ever have an opportunity to interact with teachers of their sons and daughters? And finally, what do these parents discuss when the above platforms are availed to them?

Demonstrations, lock-outs and harassment of teachers by the parents for alleged poor performance and bad administration are unfounded, unnecessary and retrogressive. Parents should help make the good results they yearn for. Let the parents associations' leadership, which is representative of all schools in Kenya both in primary and secondary schools, help to end this bad blood.

There are 31,218 public primary schools and 8,933 public secondary schools from which one representative is elected to the parents association, which gradually runs from the grassroots to the national level. This is a very huge number whose network can put to good use in terms of capacity building so that communities understand their roles and allow peace and cohesion in service delivery by our teachers.

The Basic Education Act 2013 provides for minimum qualification for members of boards of management for both primary and secondary schools. This is a demonstration that the drafters of the act had thought of having men and women with capacity to address education matters through a clear process and provide dependable solutions to the same.

The question of lack of capacity therefore doesn't arise. This arrangement of parents' leaders has the capacity to control the emotions we are witnessing around performance and management. There is need to facilitate parents associations in order to make them have the capacity to perform duties bestowed on them constitutionally. The facilitation should be through trainings, bench-marking tours and other exposures that will help broaden their ability to participate in management of education.

In unfortunate if any of our teachers are involved in inciting communities against their colleagues. We urge them to stop. Teachers must be united and guard against aggression from communities by working well with them. This is the only way that will guarantee harmonious working relationships.

The Ministry of Education and the Teachers' Service Commission should be very careful when handling school management leaderships, transfers, Delocalisation and Localisation of teachers. This should be done in a way that is consultative so that it doesn't boomerang on them. If handled carelessly, we are likely to see and hear more of these unfortunate events.

The nation should be focusing on the anticipated review in the education sector towards producing competitive graduates prepared for qualitative world markets now that there is general gravitation of the world towards technology. As well, we should invest in resources to suppress anxiety and tension caused by irate parents due to poor performance and bad management by head teachers.