In the wake poor performance in last year’s KCPE with only a third of candidates scoring a c plus and above, Matiang’i the education cabinet secretary has been making impromptu visits to various schools around the country. Dr. Matiang’i, who took over the education docket from Prof. Kaimenyi last year, has been criticized for this move but he has firmly defended it and even made it clear he will not stop the visits.
The education CS’s impromptu visits to schools have been under heavy criticism from the two teacher’s union bodies KUPPET and KNUT and termed as intrusive. The KNUT and KUPPET leaders feel Matiang’i is violating the privacy of teachers. KUPPET secretary general had criticized this move and told the cabinet secretary to spearhead on policy formulation and quit such tactics. According to Misori, the visits will have no long term impact. The County Education Directors should be trained to tackle the problems within schools.
According to Dr. Matiang’i, the impromptu visits are meant to address the issues of teachers’ absenteeism, which is to blame for the poor performance in the public schools. He responded to Misori by making it clear that no amount of criticism will stop him.
I saw my brother form KUPPET Misori saying that I am harassing teachers in schools. Asking me not to go to schools is like asking me not to go to Jogoo house and that is where I work. That’s the assignment the president has given me, to look after the education sector. I will be in schools , in fact this afternoon I will be in one , tomorrow I will be in many more schools, that’s is what I am supposed to do.
The issue of teachers absenteeism is serious than could be imagined, going by Matiangi’s sentiments. He gave examples of schools he visited in Njoroand Nyeri, and found some teachers absent.
That’s how we deal with the issues we have been having. Look what I found in Njoro, there were three teachers who were not there; chemistry, biology and physics.” He continued,” I was in Nyeri the other day and when I walked into several schools the teachers were not there.
The cabinet secretary also applauded the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for heeding to his calls in addressing teachers’ absenteeism. He revealed he has interdicted a number of teacher and they have been punished. He urged teachers to avoid being absent from classes in order for public schools to achieve good results.
Despite defending his visits as a measure to address absentee teachers, he also pointed out the visits will benefit the teachers as the ministry is in a position to identify the challenges the teachers face and finds ways to address them.
Dr. Matiang’i also talked about the importance of not politicking about this issue and called upon the parents, unions and the TSC to join hands and address this matter. He retaliated that no amount of persuasion or criticism will stop him or his commissioners from visiting the schools because through the visits some absentee teachers have been interdicted and disciplined.He has also urged the general public to actively participate in the ongoing school curriculum review process that started this year.