MoE, TSC Watch Helplessly As Schools Flout Set Guidelines
The Ministry of Education appears powerless, as many principals continue to ignore directions provided to them.
Principals have gone rogue, from flouting fee guidelines to sending students home in arrears.
The most recent regulation violation is sending students to midterms a week earlier than scheduled.
Mid-term was supposed to begin on June 29 and end on July 1, but students were allowed to leave on June 23 in violation of a ministry circular issued earlier this year.
If schools had followed the scheduled schedule, the early break could have coincided with the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) conference.
Kessha chairman Kahi Indimuli requested a schedule change to give them more time for the key convention.
Some of the administrators contacted also requested that students be released earlier to allow for the music festival, while others highlighted a severe lack of money to run their institutions.
Even while the principals defend the early break, they have already violated ministry policies, guidelines, and directions.
Fees are one of the most overused guidelines. During a recent appearance before the Parliament Select Committee, Education PS Belio Kipsang was at pains to explain why schools were asking higher fees than the government-imposed maximum.
“We have issued several circulars on this, and since some principals want to dare the government, we are going to crack down on this,” Dr Kipsang added.
The principals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, accused government officials for developing policies that they are hesitant to implement.
“They enact laws that they themselves are unable to enforce.” “We haven’t seen quality assurance officers in our schools in a long time,” one of the principals stated.
Former Ministry of Education Quality Assurance and Standards officer Alex Majani stated that the heads will continue to violate standards as long as there is no clear direct line of command between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the ministry.
“Teachers report to TSC, which has established a quality assurance department that works in tandem with the ministry.” This causes friction between the two bodies,” Majani argued.
He chastised TSC for pitting teachers against the ministry when it is apparent that they will always follow employer directions.
“The ministry should make time to meet with school boards and explain the importance of following the rules.” The only way the government can remedy this is to limit TSC powers so that it can focus on human resources,” Majani pointed out.
The former official claimed that the government is to responsible for failing to guarantee that policies are enforced.
“The stated reality is that ministry headquarters has ignored all of the policies that it assists in the formulation of,” Majani remarked.
Even after being warned against keeping Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) credentials for unpaid school fees, many students have not received their certificates.
On several days last year, then-Education PS Julius Jwan sent circulars alerting schools about illicit charges and the withholding of KCPE and KCSE certificates.
He also reminded heads of Regulation 44 of the Basic Education Act of 2013, which states that no school may provide a fee structure different than the one approved by the CS.
“No public institution shall issue alternative fees structures other than those approved by the Cabinet Secretary,” Dr Jwan warned.
The warnings, however, have not discouraged school administrators from raising school fees, instituting additional levies, or withholding certificates due to arrears.
And, despite the fact that safety precautions should be taken to avoid unnecessary deaths, some schools have chosen not to take them.a
Every school, according to standards released a few years ago, should post a blueprint plan of the buildings, classrooms, dorms, and passageways.
In case of an emergency, there should be a telephone tree list with the names of employees, pagers, teachers, and parents. Fire drills should be conducted as frequently as feasible to increase preparation.
To avoid accidents during crises, fire extinguishers should be installed with adequate spacing in classrooms and dorms. Furthermore, all doors should be open to the outdoors, and windows should not have grills.
All dormitories should have 1.2 metres between beds, with corridors or walks at least 2 metres wide.
The Basic Education Regulations 2015 mandated that students wake up at 6 a.m. and attend formal teaching between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., with an additional hour and 15 minutes for games and club activities.
Education CS Ezekiel Machogu has instructed school heads to fully adhere to the regulations.
“No day institution of basic education and training shall require learners to report earlier than 7.15am,” Machogu directed.
According to Indimuli, policies enacted by all branches of government have an impact on the smooth operation of schools.
“We are constantly confronted with contradictory directives.” On the one hand, the employer directs teachers, while the Ministry of Education issues a contradictory order. “This puts teachers in the middle and forces them to make decisions,” he stated.
According to Aquinas High School Principal Stephen Gathii, some orders push parents to oppose school administration.
“The government gives money to schools for tuition only, not for boarding.” When you send students home, you are accused by the same administration,” Gathii lamented.
According to former Alliance High School Principal David Kariuki, the government disregards the school Board of Management.
“The Board of Trustees makes school-related decisions.” “The government should sit down with them and find a middle ground,” he said.
Former Nanyuki principal Oliver Minishi believes the government should increase infrastructure funding.
MoE, TSC Watch Helplessly As Schools Flout Set Guidelines