, MOMBASA, Kenya, Jul 1 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has asked head teachers in the country to embrace the culture of dialogue and reconciliation in managing crises in their respective schools.
Mr Musyoka said that the spate of violent riots and destruction that has been witnessed in secondary schools and public universities draws and pays sufficient attention to disciplinary measures.
Addressing the Kenya Secondary Schools Head teachers Association during their 34th annual delegates conference in Mombasa on Wednesday, Mr Musyoka said it was only through dialogue and reconciliation that crises caused by student unrest could be contained.
“I am sure dialogue is the best way to solve problems whenever they occur in our learning institutions instead of resorting to use of force," he said.
Mr Musyoka singled out the late Starehe Boys Centre Director Dr Geoffrey Griffins as one administrator who always resorted to dialogue with his students in managing crisis in the institution and asked them to emulate him.
The Vice President at the same time challenged the head teachers to be at the forefront in the fight against corruption and other immoral activities that could easily compromise their reputation and standing in the society.
Mr Musyoka urged the school managers to be good role models and mentors to their students and teachers with a view to maintaining their reputation and standing in the society.
He pleaded with head teachers from Eastern and North Eastern provinces among other areas which have been hard hit by famine not to send away their students due to lack of fees and instead explore ways of helping them during such hard times.
Mr Musyoka who is also the Minister for Home Affairs reiterated the Government’s commitment to improving terms of service for teachers in the country.
He challenged them to reciprocate the Government’s gesture to harmonise their salaries with those of civil servants by working extra hard.
The VP said the Government has already taken steps to harmonise teachers’ salaries with those of civil servants of the same grade following their petition.
“We expect quick returns on the colossal investment that the government is injecting in the education sector and these demands that you direct all your energies towards improving the performance of your students," said Mr Musyoka.
He also said there was need to redefine education beyond imparting knowledge and give as much emphasis to production of a wholesome person imbued with good character and life skills that make it possible to confront the challenges of contemporary times.
“The importance the Government attaches to the education sector is best illustrated by the fact that it has remained the recipient of the largest budgetary allocation every subsequent year," he said.
Mr Musyoka said in the current financial year (2009-2010), allocation to the education sector increased by staggering Sh20 billion to cater for the recruitment of additional teachers, purchase of learning equipment, improvement of learning facilities and establishment of new centre of excellence in every constituency.
The Vice President also issued awards to seven long serving teachers.
Permanent Secretary Prof Karega Mutahi said the Ministry of Education will work closely with teachers as trustees of children in the country.
“I want to assure teachers that their terms and condition of service has been harmonised in line with those of other civil servants," he said.
Chairman of Kenya Secondary Schools Head teachers Association (KSSHA) Mr Cleophas Tirop said there was need to establish more national schools and scrapping of district schools to pave way for more day schools at the district level.