Ministry pushes for shake up of school boards amid fee outcry

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. [David Gichuru, Standard]

The Ministry of Education has directed public schools to begin the process of replacing boards of management. 

Piqued by blatant breach of government fees guidelines and increasing cases of indiscipline in public schools, the Ministry is seeking to have all new board members vetted at the nomination stage.

Sources at the Ministry told The Standard that the government is keen to clean up all school boards to get rid of members, who have presided over the continued disregard of ministry guidelines and policies, as their term expires February next year.

In a memo to all County Directors of Education, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha spells out timelines for nominations and states the deadline for presenting the list of new persons for approval.

In the October 4 memo, Magoha also says the time is up for the present County Education Boards having served four years and wants them replaced.

“According to Section 22 of the Basic Education Act, 2013, the tenure of service for the chairperson and members of the County education boards is four years and three years respectively,” said Magoha.

County Education Boards, among other functions, are expected to collaborate with the Board of Management, the Principal, the Head Teacher, and other appropriate authorities in the management of schools.

They are also expected to coordinate and monitor education and training in the County on behalf of the national government and the county government. 

The names of respective nominees to the boards should be forwarded on or before November 30.

“The purpose of this letter is to advise to as you to start the process of nominations and selection for appointment of new County Education Boards in accordance with section 20(1) (a-k) and School Boards of Management in accordance with Section 55 of the Basic Education Act, 2013,” said the CS.

According to the Act, the school board comprises six persons elected to represent parents of the pupils in the school or local community in the case of county secondary schools.

These are: one nominated by the County Education Board, one representative of the teaching staff in the school elected by the teachers and three representatives of sponsors of the school.

Further, one person representing special interest groups in the community, one person to represent persons with special needs and a representative of the students' council who shall be an ex officio member, will also sit on the board.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha. [File, Standard]

The Board of Management may from time to time co-opt into its membership such persons as it is satisfied possess skills and experience to assist in the discharge of the Board's functions.

Basic Education PS Jwan Julius said they anticipate the new teams coming in the school boards will streamline the management.

“Nominations shall be done at school level but we are keen to see persons who are committed to implementing Ministry guidelines and policies,” said Jwan.

He added: “We only want to see members who have been committed to implementing government policies given second chance to sit on those boards.” 

School heads, who are the secretaries to the boards of management, have recently come in sharp focus for not adhering to the fees guidelines even after Ministry issued circulars.

Some of the heads have also been listed for overseeing increasing cases of indiscipline which has resulted in school fires and other ills in schools.

And now, Ministry says those who will sit in the boards must be competent.

County Directors of Education who spoke yesterday said they will vet chairpersons of the boards, as they lead a unit that makes school decisions.

“We know that some heads of schools will want to push out those who have stood on their path to doing bad things and reward those who support their ill ways,” said one of the directors.

After the nominations, the Act under Section 56 (4) says that the members of the Board of Management shall elect their chairperson from amongst themselves.