When the history of the education sector in Kenya is written, Prof.Magoha may not feature among the best education CSs we have had in the recent past but I doubt he is to blame entirely for what we are witnessing now in schools. What we are seeing now are the fruits of the seeds that were sowed not long ago when Matiangi was CS education.The chickens have simply come home to roost.
During Matiangi’s tenure so many policies were passed to protect the child in school. At one point students were made to sit on school Boards of Management. The students were given the leeway to choose their own leaders and teachers could not do anything about. The students’ status was so much elevated that they started looking down upon teachers. The whole world, including the children burning schools now, saw how teachers would be demeaned, harassed and threatened by Matiangi during school visits. We got used to seeing some principals and teachers literally take off at the mere mention of Matiangi. The children were watching and learning. Parents were cheering and praising Matiangi. Education activists were either quiet or urging him on.
As fate would have it the TSC became increasingly too hard on teachers at the same time and continues to arrogantly come up with policies meant to curtail and oppress teachers while doing nothing to uplift their welfare.The TSC for instance is the only employer in Kenya who recently threatened to freeze salaries if teachers failed to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Cases of depression among teachers are on the increase due to work related pressure. It would not be so hard for anyone to see that teachers in Kenya are demoralized. The president in 2015 promised to deal with teachers once and for all. He succeeded.Teachers’ unions have been killed and or compromised. Teachers are helpless and instinctively they have learnt to play safe to protect their jobs.
Somehow the students involved in cases of lawlessness get away with their crimes but it is very easy to sack a teacher on very flimsy grounds. We have had incidents of teachers being assaulted in school by students and the cases just fizzle out. The learners have taken advantage and are becoming more ruthless.
Undoubtedly, what we are seeing is a reflection of the general society. We have all seen our leaders break and disregard the law with so much impunity. Disobeying court orders by our leaders is a common practice. One wonders why schools aren’t burning in Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania. Kenyans are increasingly becoming hopeless and ruthless. Those who burnt elderly people Kisii recently were not school going children. Our children have simply learnt to perfect what they see us do. To them, burning schools is just sheer child’s play. The adults around them have done worse. May God help Kenya.