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Should school heads also teach?

Written by Obed Simiyu
2012-01-06 11:27:00
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Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri displaying an exhibit that was used by one KCPE Candidate to cheat exams the year 2011.[ Photo/ West Fm/ File]

Since the release of the 2011 KCPE results last year by Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri, a new spate of reaction from parents to teachers whose schools did not perform well has erupted across the country.

School heads of such schools that performed dismally are a worried lot not knowing what will befall them at the dawn of a new day following a series of events that have characterized the reactions elicited by parents who have gone to an extend of locking, blocking school heads from gaining entry to the schools and even closing schools all in venting their anger towards school heads.

The aggrieved parents may be right, they may as well be wrong.

The common uderstanding by all the aggrieved parents is that school heads are responsible for the poor performance of their schools and should take responsibility for that.

It is the school head that has failed to chart a clear way in how to improve and maintain their school’s performance and compete with others in national exams because they are the face of the school, parents say.

School heads are the ones who have failed to coordinate, monitor, evaluate their staff on how they cover the syllabus, content they give to the pupils, time used teaching, performance of each class, pupil, subject, department and thus the whole institution.

The school head, as well, has failed to involve the parent in coming up with ways of improving education standards of their respective schools, engage the parent and their children in evaluating the child’s performance throughout the term.

On the other hand, the same parents accuse the head teachers of failing to champion the physical development of the schools. Buildings of some of the schools are as old as the name ‘colonial’ as they were constructed during that time and the only new single building visible to date in many schools is one by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) built with the first funds ever disbursed at the start of the funds.

Some schools have no gates. You can just gain entry from any direction yet they would like to compete with schools which fetch their pupils right from their doorsteps and return them back in the evening.

However, that is besides the story. The question that many are missing to ask is: should the head teachers also teach?

The head teachers are the head of the school and play the supervisory role whereby they attend to the administrative duties to ensure the school’s activities are running smoothly.

A while ago, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) ordered head teachers to appear in classes and execute their duty - teach.

According to TSC more than 6,000 head teachers should start teaching the full lesson as many as 18 per week if not they would face sanctions. Yes the head teachers can do the teaching but is it possible for them to teach and at the same time manage the activities running in the school?

The shortage of teachers in the country has been a major issue but this does not mean that the head teachers should now be overworked. With these, the government is trying to run away from the problem which was to recruit enough teachers and ensure schools are well administered. 

 It is disheartening that most of the schools are facing crisis in shortage of teachers due to Free Primary Education programme in primary schools. Then population has grown so fast yet buildings have not yet been built and parents do not want to be told to contribute towards the same as they have the notion the government is doing so through the FPE whose funds again were misappropriated.

The biting shortage of teachers in our public schools has negatively impacted on our education and the results are on the wall for all to see – poor performance.

Parents want the school heads to be beasts of burden. Anyway, they are trained teachers and have to lead by example by showing first they are teachers then, head teachers, deputies, heads of departments, class teachers and any other positions they hold.  

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