CS Matiang’i’s education reforms cause of unrest in schools – Raila Odinga


Raila
CORD leader Raila Odinga. Photo/Profile.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga has put the government to task over the increased cases of arson in secondary schools.

In a statement to media from Philadelphia, US where he is attending the Democratic National Convention (DNC), Odinga said that the surging cases of unrest in schools can be attributed to radical reforms effected by Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i early this year.

“The government announced stringent measures including change in term dates and abolition of traditions like visiting and prayers ahead of exams in third term ostensibly to curb exam cheating in our schools,” noted the CORD leader.

“Teachers and non-candidates will also be required to stay away from schools during the conduct of national exams.  It is evident that these radical measures were taken without adequate consultations and they have backfired.”

The ODM leader claimed the new reforms have made teachers and students victims of the system saying the war on cheating should be fought on a different front.

“Jubilee must deal with the problem of cheating from where it starts: the Kenya National Examinations Council which is the organisation charged with the setting, safekeeping and administration of exams,” stated Raila.

“KNEC is the body that should produce the suspects and the people to go to jail when exams are leaked. It is the body that we should be investigating and reforming. The teachers, candidates and parents being targeted today are victims of the corruption and institutional failure at KNEC.”

He accused Jubilee government of being mum on the issue saying they should “abandon the authoritarian policies it is adopting, announce a return to the old order that also respects the unique traditions of various schools”.

“The government must assure Kenyans of the safety of their children in schools and be ready to take responsibility for any harm that may occur to those children in these unfortunate fire incidents.”

They further called for detailed consultations between parents, teachers, Boards of Governors, PTAs, KNUT and KUPPET to find a lasting solution.

This comes as five more schools were torched Tuesday night as education stakeholders grapple with the issue of unrest in schools.

A dormitory at St Patrick’s High School Iten, two dormitories at Giakaibei School in Nyeri County and a dormitory at St Stephen Secondary School, Nkoitoi in Narok County were set ablaze Tuesday night.

Education stakeholders have raised concerns over the increased cases of arson in secondary schools this term with Kenya Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion calling for the temporary closure of schools to give stakeholders and the government time to sort out the pressing issues that may have led to the unrest.

Sossion has blamed CS Matiang’i for the unrest in schools which he has termed as the students’ way of fighting back against the CS’s radical reforms in the education sector which include extension of the second term.

Matiang’i has, however, remained adamant that the schools will remain open saying parents will foot the cost of repairing destroyed school property.

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