Saturday, September 10, 2011

What a relief as Teachers’ strike is called off

It is a great relief to hear news that a deal has been signed between the Government represented by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya Union of Teachers (Knut) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to employ 23,000 more teachers.

The strike was worrying not only to parents with children is public primary schools but also to many of us parents with children in public secondary schools and especially those with children doing exams this term, because Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) had also called on their teachers to join the strike. This would have been very costly for parent because unlike public primary schools that education is free, secondary school education in public schools is not free, most of them are in boarding schools and travel to different parts of the country to attend the schools, hence it could have been very costly for already pressed parents if children were to be sent back home, then later to pay for transport again to take them back.

Now that more teachers will be employed the issue of understaffing in public primary schools should be given priority, it is also a shame for the Minister of education Mr. Sam Ongeri to term the teachers demands are unrealistic. It is a fact that the decline in performance of public primary schools is due to overcrowding of students and understaffing. I will quote the standard “Teachers have complained of being poorly and irregularly paid and teaching overcrowded classes. Shortage of learning materials erode public confidence in the value of public education, even as State takes a backseat on teachers woes”

It is true that most of us Kenyans have no confidence in the value education in public primary schools, am a good example of a parent who attended public schools but cannot take my children to the current public primary schools, secondary schools are much better and in-fact most parents after taking their children to private schools in primary rush for the best public secondary schools. I cannot imagine my child failing because teachers have more than enough children to teach and worse I cannot imagine my child in a dirty class or worse a school with poor sanitation facilities. Am not saying this with pride and prejudice but it is the bitter truth of our public schools and many parents have no choice but to take their children to these schools.

Since these schools are run by public fund from taxes paid by Kenyans, the Government should improve and restore their glory so that parents like us who spend a lot of money in private schools can take our children to improved public schools. It can even be better if the government could have two categories of public schools, free public schools and subsidized public schools for parents who are able to pay some fees this can also be a way for the Government to get some money to support paying teachers. Consequently many private schools that are mushrooming can be controlled. Most of them are in business of drilling students for exams, making quick money and doing booming business in school uniforms from the normal schools uniforms to additional uniforms like track suites, jackets, sports shoes, scuffs etc…., being sold in the schools. As a result children who are drilled in such private schools end up performing poorly in secondary schools.

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