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KNUT blames transfers, new rules for unrest in schools

“Following interviews with students from schools that have been closed due to unrests, it has been established that much of the unrest stems from change in rules,” KNUT stated/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is now blaming the Ministry of Education over the recent unrest in schools that has seen buildings in over 70 institutions razed.

In a report, the union stated that new rules and delocalization which has seen 58 news principals in the affected schools is causing tension among the students.

It pointed out that headteachers are resorting to measures including wearing school uniform to impress, but it has not worked.

“Following interviews with students from schools that have been closed due to unrests, it has been established that much of the unrest stems from change in rules,” KNUT stated.

“A case in point is Maranda High School, where a Form 2 student confided in us that learners have a big problem with new rules introduced by the new principal who was posted there earlier this year. Maranda had to close as students demanded the return of the former principal. Similar cases have been witnessed at Friends School Kamusinga and many other schools.”

Other reasons for unrest include diminishing roles of teachers in schools, lack of involvement by local communities and lack of proper management by education officials.

“The role of a teacher in public schools has been reduced to teaching and filing reports only. The policies, and directions from TSC require a teacher to teach only. The tool used for appraising teachers does not have provision for rewarding teachers who take on extra duties like discipline or guiding and counselling or spiritual concern over the learners like the yester-years,” it stated.

“This is made worse with cases of students beating up teachers who are in the line of duty like it happened at Chalbi boys and Karimara Boys. School unrests currently being experienced are largely due to lack of teacher participation in policy making.”

It recommended the scrapping of delocalization, empowerment of teachers and consolations when policies are being formulated as measures to stem the unrests.

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“Since Teacher Delocalization Policy appears to be the main cause of the strikes, the programme should be scrapped off with immediate effect,” it stated.

“Teachers should be empowered to mentor students, serve as role models, supervise students in and outside classrooms, equipped with adequate and modern teaching tools and more importantly involved directly in policy making process.”

It further stated the need for local communities, school sponsors, religious organizations, parents’ associations, professional organisations to be allowed to work in partnership with Boards of Management and school administration to raise the level of education and discipline in schools.

“They must be consulted by the TSC and MOEST in case of administrative changes of school principals and head teachers.”

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