Questions as TSC withdraws all teachers from Isongo school

 Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over St Gabriel’s Isongo Secondary in Kakamega county after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) withdrew 17 teachers.

Teachers' unions have been piling pressure on TSC to transfer all tutors from the school after residents assaulted and ejected the principal, David Wafula, and the director of studies over dismal 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results.

On Wednesday, the commission is said to have issued transfer letters to all 17 teachers following demands by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).

The unions said the teachers safety was not guaranteed at the school.

Learning was paralysed at the school on Thursday, with students spending time outside classrooms without supervision after the institution was left under the Board of Management (BoM).

Parents, local leaders and the sponsor of the school have regretted the incident that pushed TSC to withdraw teachers and have pleaded with the commission to rescind its decision and reinstate the tutors to ensure uninterrupted learning.

The school recorded a mean score of 2.9 in the 2023 KCSE examinations, results that angered parents and stakeholders.

Out of 173 candidates who sat KCSE, one scored B (plain) another one managed B- (minus), six (C plain), 12 (C- minus), 24 (D+ plus), 46 (D plain) and 79 (D-minus).

Four candidates scored E, results which angered the parents.

Kakamega County Education Director Hellen Nyang'au said that TSC has transferred 17 teachers to neighbouring schools and out of Kakamega.

"All TSC teachers have indeed been transferred some have been taken to neighbouring schools while others have been moved out of Kakamega county," said Nyang'au.

"The issue to do with the replacement of teachers and how long it will take lies fully with TSC. We are aware that learning might be affected in the school, but a stakeholders meeting is ongoing at the school to discuss how to restore normalcy and ensure learning continues uninterrupted," said the County Education Director.

The Standard could not immediately reach the TSC Western Regional boss for comment as calls made went unanswered.

The Catholic Diocese of Kakamega which is the sponsor of the school regretted the parents' actions and urged TSC to move with speed and restore normalcy at the institution.

Father Fedinard Lukonzo, Catholic diocese of Kakamega Bumini Parish, said as sponsors, they are remorseful and would wish to see learning going on.

"We are sorry, and we are apologizing on behalf of the parents and the school, but we were shocked by the TSC move. We plead with the commission to reinstate teachers to the school as we seek reconciliation with teachers' employer," said Lukonzo.

"We had 17 TSC teachers and 14 others under BoM and after the transfer of the teachers by the commission we have remained with teachers on BoM and they are the ones who will run the school and conduct learning as we follow up with the commission on addressing the issue," he added.

Parents led by Henry Sakwa apologized and urged TSC to rescind the decision to withdraw teachers saying it was hurting the education of the students.

"What led to this problem is poor performance but the way we addressed and handled the issue was wrong and as parents and key stakeholders we are sorry but we want the commission to reinstate teachers," said Sakwa.

Patrick Alunya, another parent, said they have learned their lesson the hard way and asked TSC to act in the best interest of childlren.

"We have seen the repercussions of our actions even though we had good intentions. We plead with TSC to rescind its decision and give us teachers, but as the commission does so, we need all the underlying issues addressed," said Alunya.

"We regret what happened and the current situation, but let students not suffer too much because all the students are government children," he added.

The Standard established that 16 teachers were allowed to pick schools of their choice within Mumias region before they were issued, with transfer letters. A senior teacher assaulted by their parents chose to go to Bungoma county.

Kakamega Kuppet branch Chairman Johnson Wabuti supported the TSC move, saying that it is the only way to instill discipline in parents and students.

"We are fully supporting the TSC move because there is no way we can sit and allow hooliganism in our schools, where teachers are attacked, and frog-marched, let those who were behind the incident, parents and students learn a lesson and never let it happen again anywhere and to our teachers," said Wabuti.

He noted that most of the transferred teachers have reported to their new working stations. "We have talked to our members, and they have confirmed to us, that they have reported to their new station," he said.

The Kakamega Kuppet branch Chairman said they would only advise their members to go back to the school after the government, through security agencies, arrests the people behind the attack on the principal.

"We know children have a right to education, but that should not supersede the safety of teachers, and this should serve as an example to the rest," he said.

Elsewhere, parents stormed and closed two schools in Moiben, Uasin Gishu county, for posting poor results in last year’s KCPE and KCSE examinations.

The parents were angered after the top student from Mafuta Secondary School scored D+ in the recently released KCSE results.

Most students from the school scored grade E, leaving parents and education stakeholders seething with anger.

During the incident that happened last week days after Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu released 2023 KCSE results, parents ejected the head teachers of the primary and secondary schools.

However, Mafuta Secondary School principal, Chrispinus Mukenya, strongly defended the school's dismal performance.

"The mean grade was 1.83, but if you are not supported, there is no way you can produce," Mukenya said.

The parents now want the Ministry of Education to investigate the poor performance, which they said was robbing their children of their future.