Teachers in Kenya are now backing in class after two weeks of a nationwide strike over pay issues. The lop side of it is that students may not complete the syllabus. This is made worse by the fact that many were out of school for at least a month last year due to the post election violence.
The Teachers Service Commission may well have carried its threat carry out its threat to ‘sack the striking teacher’s en-masse’. Replacing them with inexperienced graduates and retirees would only have dealt deal a big blow to the education in public schools in Kenya. There is already a gaping performance gap between the public and private schools,
How do we make teachers liable for quality teaching, commensurate with the increased pay perks they demand? The performance of teachers has been on the spotlight: Poor performance in exams ,a vast array of professional misconduct like teachers having sexual relations with their pupils, absenteeism, cheating in exams, ham-fisted supervision.
It is no secret that there is overt glorification of mediocrity during the succinct interviews in recruitment of headmasters and school principals. No wonder most of them highly rank school fees and money matters as their primary concerns instead of improving learning outcomes.
It is high time the teaching fraternity and various teacher serving organizations carried out a bold surgery of the profession and our educational system without holding back the medicine needed to cure from the quandary of confusion we witlessly impart in our children in the name of teaching. Ask the Kenyan teacher, or any education officer about the 21st century skills and you will be shocked.
Teachers and in deed most educators in Kenya, have negligible knowledge of rubrics. Most if not all, dread evaluation of their practice. No wonder KNUT was up in arms against performance contracts- something they at no pains to delve into and understand.
Unlike medics and lawyers, teachers in Kenya do not have a professional association. Matters more important to the teaching fraternity are lost by the ever warring KNUT and KUPPET trade unions that have no more than salary negotiations in their repertoire. The two have no professional interests of teachers at heart.
KUPPET and KNUT are a replica of our own numb and skewed egotistic political ‘ideology’ that is full of vanity. This is the same approach they employ in providing resistance to Innovative Practice in Schools in preference to the already expired teacher-knows -it –all / rote learning method that does not incite inquiry in their pupils .Ever wondered why there is heightened perception about the declining status of the teacher in Kenya today? Alas, the KUPPET and KNUT membership have been very good at leading us to the Promised Land and failed to reach there themselves.