, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) were once again on opposing sides during the release of the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results on Tuesday.
The two took polar opposite positions on the MoEST decision not to rank the schools and students based on performance.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion described the decision as foolhardy while MoEST Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi insisted that it was action that was long overdue.
Kaimenyi went on to list the 2012 Douglas Odhiambo taskforce on education reforms, the 2008 David Koech chaired Parliamentary Committee on Education, and, “as if that wasn’t enough,” a taskforce led by the then Director of Education Naomi Wangai in 2001, the 1999 David Koech Commission of Enquiry and most recently the Kilemi Mwiria taskforce on secondary school fees; all of which, he said, recommended scrapping the ranking system.
“Therefore I did not wake up one morning like a mad man just to ban ranking of schools,” he defended.
But Sossion was adamant that Kaimenyi was misrepresenting the facts of those reports.
“I was part of the Mwiria taskforce. We did not recommend the abolishment of ranking. What we recommended was a review of the tools of ranking,” he said. “As for the rest, if indeed they did recommend the abolishment of ranking, why was it never implemented?”
He said the failure to rank the schools which fielded candidates for the 2014 KCSE exams would result in a decline in the quality of education.
“What measuring stick do they have to measure themselves against now?” he posed.
But Kaimenyi held his ground arguing that even without ranking, schools heads would still be able to gauge their performance.
“When I went to school we were not ranked and we still knew which the best schools were,” he said.
Sossion also took issue with Kaimenyi’s, “threats,” to head teachers who did not adhere to the state’s secondary school fees guidelines; terming it misadvised.
“Quality education is not cheap. Let him provide bursaries to the students who can’t afford it,” Sossion said.
He also claimed that the terms of all Boards of Management in public secondary schools had expired and that they, and not head teachers, were responsible for setting the fees structure.