Divisions, accusations and anxiety publicly played out during this year’s Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (Kepsha) annual conference in Mombasa as players in the education sector converged to discuss key milestones and challenges facing primary school education in the country.
Despite the Coast heat experienced inside the 10,000 capacity Shaikh Zayed Hall in Bombolulu, the four-day conference was held in relative calm. A major concern was the insistence by the government on preparedness to roll out the new curriculum by January 2018.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) executive director Nancy Macharia also dropped a bombshell by announcing that primary, secondary school headteachers and college principals in public institutions will no longer be allowed to serve in their home counties.
Another shock was that TSC will not allow school administrators to serve in one institution for more than nine years. Moreover, Macharia said, in the new policy, headteachers and their deputies will be required to possess bachelor’s degrees, while principals and their deputies in secondary schools and colleges will be required to have a master degree qualifications.
Teachers unions immediately opposed all these suggestions, but Kepsha was more pragmatic. The teachers made a raft of recommendations which they want addressed before the State embarks on rolling out of the new curriculum and other changes.
They called for the safeguarding of school property through fast-tracking of the issuance of tittle deeds. Kepsha secretary general David Mavuta called for strengthened guidance and counselling programmes to address emerging vices including radicalisation of pupils in primary schools.
Kepsha also want TSC to end the 90,000-teacher deficit before implementing the new curriculum. Kephsa also recommends the incorporation of anti-Female Gentle Mutilation (FGM) messages in co-curricular activities, including drama and music.
“The government should also provide and sustain special support to needy, vulnerable, HIV affected and infected learners,” Mavuta said. Reading the recommendations during the closure of the conference, Mavuta asked the government to hasten the school electrification programme to facilitate digital learning.