Kenyan institutions never cease to amaze with colourful blueprints that are purposely authored to generate plenty of heat and no light. So now the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has introduced the so-called radical measures to select, appoint and deploy head teachers.
Never short of lofty and high-sounding nouns, TSC has developed a policy document, Identification, Selection, Appointment, Deployment and Training of Head Teachers, in an attempt to improve the management of learning institutions.
Nothing wrong with this marvelous new policy if only it was meant to be implemented as authored. But alas, in Kenya you have to be overtly and covertly optimistic to divorce expediency in such grand schemes.
You don’t have to be a neurosurgeon to see the impending tension between communities left to build their own schools only for TSC to deploy a professional head teacher whose modus operandi is at odds with the local interests. Not employing their sons and daughters who may not be qualified is a definite source of tension and eventual fallout.
TSC has professionally proposed that heads of post-primary institutions only become eligible for deployment outside their localities and communities. That would be sweet music to educationists since the move would effectively sever the links of patronage and nepotism in addition to reducing pursuit of personal interests often seen in running matatus and kiosks.
Social integration among the youth at their formative ages would be a great leap into banishing retrogressive mindset moulded in ETHNIC SUPERIORITY. We have witnessed the perils of being a student of Chepkoilel primary school proceeding to Chepkoilel Secondary and then qualifying for Chepkoilel Campus. Him who is not travelled/exposed often thinks his mum is the best cook. Long gone are the good old days when Mr. Mwamburi was a revered teacher in Suneka Primary School his not speaking Kisii notwithstanding.
TSC’s new directive amounts to making micro fundamental policies in a flawed national fabric. Granted secondary education is the best platform to plat the seed of national cohesion among the numerous Kenyan tribes. But Moi’s ruinous ERROR witnessed populist expansion of education at the expense of quality and structure. 8-4-4 is a marvelous idea working flawlessly in Canada but Moi never left implementation of Mackay’s commission to professionals. The end product was to have specialized professions like music and art/craft bastardized to juvenile levels.
Slaying flies with a hammer
Apologists to the present political dispensation will readily jump to the cliche tokenism to use Moi's low bar for Kibaki. Education is such an important corner stone of a country's identity and prospect that must not be left at the whims of populism and machinations of scoundrels. The last six years have been no better as evident in populating the Ministry of education with the right DNA top heavy with dinosaurs.
It is not difficult to see the localized version of our quest to SUCCEED academically at whatever cost. Last years KCSE fiasco is a case in point where parents conspired with teachers to finance widespread exam cheating. Apologists may downplay that as an isolated episode but not for those conversant with Kenya’s steady decline in education standards over the past years. The nationwide cheating was only evident when the scandal gained CRITICAL MASS.
The TSC policy is a right move that only scratches the surface of a national affliction education with potential long term consequences. Kenya prides itself in her enormous human resources. But leaving educational infrastructure in the hands of villagers only to shove head teachers down their throats is a recipe of rural tension and subsequent downturn in quality.
Until we prioritize education and leave its policies to professionals, Kenya will continue living the national lie of being a regional hub of excellence. Inferior politics that never spares any sector its ugly claws is our bane.