LETTER to Cabinet Secretary of Education

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CS Dr. Fred Matiang'i visiting a recently burnt High School in Kisii County.

Dear Dr. Fred Matiang’i,

I hope this finds you well. You have been one of the best performing Cabinet Secretary. Your untimely visit to schools has been one that has not been witnessed in the recent past. I wish to believe that you have seen some shortcomings in the schools you have visited. It has been great. Kindly note that whenever you visit any school, create time and talk to the students in the absence of their teachers. That will give you the truth.

Daktari, I wish to share with you the following: first, I think the schools’ unrest is due to the new regulations at the Kenya national examination council. Schools are facing serious examination fears due to the regulation that have been put in place that is, elimination of leakage of examinations and ranking of schools. There is also the issue of credibility. The school management seems to fear being questioned on their expenditure and so they are trying to destroy whatever can lead them to trouble with you that could be the reason as to why the burning is targeting dormitories and offices of the school heads where files and records are kept. This gives the school managers an excuse for accountability.

One of the High schools burning down. Photo by Chrispine Juma.
One of the High schools burning down. Photo by Chrispine Juma

The teachers on the other hand, should change their way of interacting with the students. Teachers in many schools are fond of forcing the students do what they wish, that is by punishing the students intensively through whipping the students. This boils hunger in the students, that is why when the pressure is too intensive on them they release it by either throwing stones at the teachers, they can as well burn down whatever they feel may also put pressure on the teachers. Teachers should know that students also have a sense of pain that when pinched, they may respond strongly.

Freedom is always given for a price. I tend to think that students have resorted to electing students with knowledge. Knowledge without wisdom is the same as the rude boys and girls we have witnessed in the schools. Could there be better ways of getting student leaders? Yes, students should be made to understand what leadership means before they are elected to lead. Students should be made to understand the meaning of freedom. Kindly give them an ear.

Bwana CS, there may also be a need to allow the students make the constitution that run the school. This can be done together with parents and all the education stakeholders. As at now the students may have the feeling that they are compelled to laws that were made when the schools were started. The students see their system as backward because even Kenya changed her constitution in 2010. Allow the students make their laws with the help of their parents so that nobody has the blame and they will also be prisoners of their own laws.

For now the education stakeholders should not be so tough on the students. When you are tough, they also become tough. Meanwhile we need to understand the verse of the students. Let us teach our young nation how to seek wisdom from God.

Yours truly,

Aguko Chrispine Juma

UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

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