It was shock and drama at the glamorous Lockwood Girls High School in Nakuru after angry teachers stormed the directors’ office during a meeting to demand their salaries. The incidence took place on Monday 23rd February 2017.
According to sources close to the school management, the declining number of students coupled with a perennial poor performance in the national exams has discouraged many parents from taking their kids to the ill-fated school. A large number of the current students are contemplating out-transfers. In the 2016 KCSE performance, for instance, none of the more than forty candidates who sat for the exams gained the minimum university entry grade of c+ with the school mean score dropping below a shameful 4.0 points. The scandalized directors are said to have been skirting the school premises in fear of encountering the wrath of teachers. 30% of the teachers have already breached their contracts by quitting without notice, leaving students at the mercy of God.The school, which boasts of an impressive record of participation at the national drama and music festivals, has been on a sharp decline over the past three years with the total student population falling from a boastful high of 340 students a few years back to a deplorable and unsustainable 70 students after form one admission by 23rd of Jan this year. The school also boasts of Aviation and French as teaching subjects. A new academic director was brought in to oversee a turnaround but things have gone from bad to worse. One of the teachers at the doomed school (name withheld) has intimated that they haven’t been paid for over three months. ‘We had a bad Christmas season, we had a bad New Year and now our own kids and our spouses are wondering,’ one of the teachers said. Some of the teachers are also servicing bank loans and they admit to being under unwarranted pressure. ‘I don’t want to lose my land,’ another enraged teacher said, ‘I have received numerous phone calls from the bank. They want me to pay the loan I took there.’Attempts to reach the school directors failed as calls went unanswered. ‘They are arrogant and they look down upon the people they employ,’ a physics/math graduate of Kenyatta University who quit the school at the beginning of the term said during an interview, ‘the situation is dire and I fear for the innocent students and their unknowing parents.’Confirmed reports suggest that a number of subjects in the school haven’t been taught since the beginning of the year as teacher replacements haven’t been successful. The patience amongst students is said to be waning.The recent directive by the Education CS to streamline the education sector is a timely call. For many years now, many education institutions have been infringing on the laws and procedures with impunity (including labor laws). The result has been a decline and rots in the education sector from bottom to top across the country. Having succeeded in administering a cartel-proof national examination exercise for Knec candidates in 2016, it is a time the same commitment was extended to the top of the education ladder to deal with the current crisis at public universities.Meanwhile, no one was harmed during the incident at Lockwood Girls High School as the frightened and perspiring directors promised to do ‘something’ about the delayed salaries. It took the intervention of several nighttime meetings to calm the horrified body of students. Teachers are said to have reluctantly walked away from the directors’ office after a verbal agreement was reached to have the accrued salaries paid in a week’s time. The enraged teachers have vowed an industrial action if the directors don’t act on their word in the promised time.