The recent directive by the government to lock out pupils from private schools from joining national school is a big sign of giving citizens with one hand and taking with the other. The current constitution as well as the old one is clearly against discrimination of any form. Article 27 (4) clearly states that 4) The State shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground, including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, health status, ethnic or social origin, color, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, dress, language or birth. Thus the move to raise the marks for joining national schools on the basis of social class is defiant of the above article. The above section of the constitution is also amplified in the Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
The main question is: who gets punished with that directive? It is obvious that the directive is unfair as it seeks to punish a child because of his/her parent’s wealth. The pupil is innocent as it is the parents who decide which school to take their child. The move by parents to take their children to private primary schools is one to be encouraged as it reduces congestion in the already congested public primary schools. Thus it is inhumanly unfair to punish this move by discriminating the pupils from joining the coveted national schools.
It is no doubt that this move implies that the government is now alarmed at the dismal performance by the public schools. The best thing to do is to admit that public schools are short of infrastructure and other resources that can make them face the private schools. It is undeniable that with the introduction of the free primary education programme most public schools are under strain. The teachers are few, the books are few. In addition to these are the corruption scandals facing the programme for instance the mysterious disappearing of funds last year.
Government schools are meant for all citizens. Whether they are poor or rich. The government is for every Kenyan. Thus public secondary schools should also be accessible to all since they too are public institutions. The inability of public schools to stage a major competition against private schools should not be compensated by infringing the rights of pupils from private primary schools.
So what is the way forward? The myth that only national schools are the best education institutions should be demystified. In this way schools in other levels such as provincial and districts shall gain popularity too. The government needs to do something about remuneration in public schools. Most good teachers usually get poached by the better performing private schools. With a better remuneration there shall exist a high retention of good teachers in public schools. The better remuneration is also a great morale booster to perform ones duties.
In short the government should up their game in providing education to the public and should stop using dubious means against the fair competition.