, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 23 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says he will not stop making impromptu calls on schools in a bid to address teacher absenteeism.
Speaking during a meeting that sought views on curriculum development, Matiang’i stated that teacher absenteeism is to blame for the poor performance of students in national examinations.
The Education CS was reacting to sentiments by the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers Union Secretary General Akelo Misori who had hit out at him stating that he should spearhead policy formulation rather than using archaic tactics within his docket.
“I saw my brother from KUPPET Misori saying that I am harassing teachers in schools. Asking me not to go to schools is like asking me not to go to Jogoo House and that is where I work. That is the assignment the President has given me, to look after the education sector,” the CS stated.
“I will be in schools. In fact this afternoon I will be in one, tomorrow I will be in many more schools, that is what I am supposed to do,” he stressed.
Matiang’i’s sentiments follow the revelation during the release of last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations where only a third of the candidates passed within the minimum university requirement of a C plus.
“And people we should support on this matter is the TSC and I am very proud of what they have done because I know they have taken serious steps. I know that they have taken steps in most of the schools that I have been to and there have been cases of absenteeism,” he said.
He further lauded the Teachers Service Commission which he pointed out has done a good job in address absenteeism.
“I know they have interdicted some teachers and in some cases they have punished some and that is what will happen because if I go to school as the CS of Education, I am the leader of the inspectors so I am part of the inspectors,” he said.
He pointed out that he will continue to spearhead the efforts for the good of students in schools.
“So I go there and find they are not there, so I ask the TSC why do you pay this one a salary, they were not in school at least when I was there, but let us continue encouraging our teachers. We will not achieve good results without teachers going to schools,” he said.
He further gave instances where he visited schools in Nyeri and Njoro and did not find teachers and described the situation as deplorable.
“That is how we deal with the issues that we have been having. Look what I found in Njoro and there were three teachers who were not there. Chemistry, Physics and Biology. I was in Nyeri the other day and when I walked into several schools, teachers were not there,” he stated.
He stressed the need not to politicize this issue but called for a concerted effort by parents, unions and the TSC in addressing the matter.
“Even if you persuade me from today until the end of the world not to talk about it, I will talk about it. It is a factor and TSC is doing a good job in this. The commissioners have been going to schools and have disciplined some teachers and interdicted others,” he said.
He stated that the visits also benefit teachers themselves as the Ministry is able to identify and deal with the challenges they face.
“There is a positive side also to it, that we get to know the challenges our teachers face, we help them, we understand the situation better and we can reason with them on how we can collectively improve the education sector,” he said.
Misori had stated that the visits will have no long term impact and stressed the need for the county education directors to be trained to deal with shortcomings within schools.