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Sunday, January 22, 2012

What are school principals in Eastern Province of Kenya up to?

January is normally a busy month with school activities, children joining kindergarten, some joining primary schools, the older ones joining Secondary schools and colleges. Other students are transferred from one school to the other depending on various reasons mostly to take a child to a boarding school, to a school that performs better, a cheaper school and when parents are relocating to another place.

Considering the above factors I have mentioned that may cause a parent or a guardian to transfer a child, it is strange to see a parent moving a child from a good Government Secondary school, not that he/she is not able to pay the fees or because of the distance. It is because the school has decided that certain children are not performing well so they should repeat classes and some simply tell the parent or guardian your child is a nuisance to our school we have warned him/her a number of times but he/she is not changing so it is better you look for a school for your child. If the child and parent have been warned before and it is true, that is understandable, but when it is a fabricated story and especially the children targeted are children from other tribes or regions of Kenya, then it is another issue.

This is what is happening to many students in some schools in Eastern Kenya to be precise let me say in Ukambani. This region is not far from Nairobi, so many parents from Nairobi tend to send their children to Government schools in Machakos, Tala, Kagundo, Athi River etc.. in Eastern Province of Kenya because they want their children to study in an upcountry environment that is not far from Nairobi where it is convenient for them to visit and the school fees are also reasonable for parents compared to Nairobi Government Schools.

Most parents from other regions of Kenya who took their children to schools in Eastern Kenya have complained of harassment and discrimination by the school administration. I have heard of around 10 cases from different schools, at first I thought it was discrimination against children from Western and Nyanza (Luo, Luhya and Kisii) but now I know of cases of children from Central (Kikuyu) and mostly children from Nairobi. The school heads claim they are not performing well; there is a parent who realized her child’s marks were doctored to prove their claim and corrected when she complained, they later claimed the child has discipline cases so the child should leave their school. They make the parents write that they have asked for transfer and sign so that it is not the school to blame and because parents need a clearance from the school they oblige.

When launching this year’s new policy for form one selection, Minister for Education Prof. Sam Ongeri said the decision was informed by the provisions of the new Constitution, which place emphasis on equity, fairness, unity and national cohesion. Therefore the Ministry of Education should investigate this issue because schools should not practicing tribalism and discrimination. Kenya is for all and no one chose to be born where they were born, we are in the year of election and we do not want anything that triggers what happened in 2007/2008 that brought about cases against 6 Kenyans at the ICC. This is politics in school against innocent children, if it is politicians interfering in public schools they should stop and school heads should be wise.

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