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State tightens noose on school transfers in new guidelines

Education CS Prof George Magoha. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The government will hold principals accountable for wrongdoings committed by students who have transferred from their schools, the government has said.

The government says in the new Ministry of Education student transfer guidelines that previous principals will have covered the students before and during the transfers.

As a result, the state wants "all principals to give release letters to students seeking transfer to other schools, stating very clearly the conduct of the students concerned" so that the state can hold the principals accountable.

"A Principal who covers up a student’s conduct shall be held responsible for any subsequent problems," the guidelines sent to all principals said.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Collins Oyuu said the rules are justified to bring back sanity in schools.

"We call them silent rules, but many have overlooked them. They have been there though not followed," Oyuu defended the State.

"It is good now that the state is making them legal to ensure they are followed."

The state has also given principals who want their students to transfer next year two months to apply.

KNUT Secretary-General Collins Oyuu. [File, Standard]

"All transfer requests for the coming year must be received by October 30th of the preceding year," the state said. "No transfer shall be carried out in the middle of the year except those under special circumstances."

Only applicants made through the form provided by the government will be considered for transfer of students. The form will be signed by parents, principals and state officials.

No school shall admit a student without a letter of transfer signed by the Sub County Directors of Education (SCDE), County Director of Education (CDE) and Director of Secondary Education & Special Programmes.

"Students seeking a transfer within the sub-county must ensure the authorizing officer, Sub County Directors of Education (SCDE) has approved," the state said.

The CDE will authorize transfers from one county to another.

"Students who want transfers from one region to another will be authorized by the CDE after the Regional Coordinator of Education (RCE) approves," reads the guidelines.

The Director of Secondary Education and Special Programmes will authorise transfers from one national school to another.

"All principals must give release letters to students seeking transfer to other schools, stating very clearly the conduct of the students concerned," the government said.

"A school that may have a vacancy or vacancies to admit more students shall issue a transfer letter signed by the principal to the student’s former school for the transfer process to begin," the Ministry said.

Bed shell after a fire at a school in Rachuonyo, Homa Bay County. [James Omoro, Standard]

Oyuu said the new directives will streamline the transfers of students in the country to ensure the smooth running of schools.

He called on parents to stop defending their children and work with teachers to ensure students grow into responsible leaders.

"Every parent argues that their children are correct. It is wrong, and we urge them to listen to teachers, and also spend time with their children to understand them," Oyuu said.

"Parents must understand the characters of the children and explain this to the teachers. We are also parents, and our work is to shape students into future leaders."

The directive comes after the Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha said that students will remain in school even if the presidential elections are challenged in the supreme court.

"If the tallying of votes is supposed to, let’s say, take place at a secondary school, we want to urge the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to relocate the tallying centre to institutions of higher learning. This will avert the loss of more time in the academic calendar," said Magoha when he commissioned CBC classrooms in the Makadara and Embakasi areas of Nairobi.