CS Machogu, TSC clash over order to withdraw 17 teachers from Kakamega school

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has faulted the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over the decision to withdraw teachers from a school where they were attacked after posting poor results in the 2023 KCSE exams.

Machogu has called for the reversal of the withdrawal citing that all decisions made in regards to schools “should put the interest of the child first.”

The decision to close St. Gabriel Isongo Secondary School following the attack on the principal has drawn criticism from rights groups and teachers' unions, who argued that it punished students for the actions of a few parents.

On Friday, Machogu said that the school would reopen within a week and that teachers would return.

"I am therefore directing the Ministry of Education field officers and Boards of Management to move fast and work with the TSC and the Ministry of Interior to iron out the misunderstanding in some of the schools where parents invaded schools with a view of resumption of normal running activities as soon as possible which should not be able to go for more than one week," he said.

The CS pledged to investigate the attacks and take action against those responsible.

He said that a report on the investigation into the St Gabriel Isongo incident is expected to be completed by the end of January.

"I made an order that the county director and the field education officers including quality assurance, TSC, and all other stakeholders were to carry out investigations and submit a report.”

The report is expected to make recommendations on how to avert similar incidents.

Machogu acknowledged the poor performance in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams but argued that blaming teachers alone was unfair.

"I wish to state that the exam performance is the sum total of all stakeholders not just the teachers," he said.

He called for a more collaborative approach to improving education standards. "Education is a collaborative effort between teachers, parents, and communities, and such incidents undermine the very foundation of this collaboration," said Johnson Nzioka, the National Chairman of the Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (KEPSHA). 

The attack on the St. Gabriel Isongo school principal is not an isolated incident. Several other schools have been forced to close in recent weeks after parents stormed the premises, angry, over poor exam results.

Teachers' unions have condemned the violence and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

"This must stop. Some head teachers and principals have been threatened. It is shameful," said Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General Collins Oyuu.