WIDESPREAD CHEATING IN KCSE 2015

EXAM LEAKAGE PICI traveled more than 500 kilometers to meet this professional lady teacher because I felt she needed my counsel. To begin with, I reminded her that she was a brilliant and an intelligent teacher who in addition uses social media as a platform to combat impunity in Kenya. I didn’t want to be judgmental before I understood her viewpoint on the whole issue. I knew it was my duty to remind her that for once she had tested my trust in her. I looked into her eyes, guilt and baffling mingled together. I then used the opportunity to let her know the reality that she was supposed to hear from me. I had to let her know that she had messed her niece by enabling her to access examination leakage. I maintain that our lengthy talk helped a situation.

But regardless of my effort I still depress. The examination leakage has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I disagree with every opinion analysts are trying to depict. And that is why the Cabinet Secretary of education is on the spot following widespread cheating in form four national examination this year.

I want to disagree with the opinion that teachers are to blame for the examination leakage. Analysts have recently said that, the massive spread of exams is as a result of face-off between the teachers and the government. It is for sure that their September salary has not been paid but it would be unrealistic to argue that it compelled them to leak the exam. I want to assert that KNEC has severally failed on its mandate even before.

I purport that this year’s examination leakage is of the highest order as compared to other years. Am yet to understand why KNEC has not asked for help from the cybercrime unit and yet the chairman of the house committee on education Mrs. Sabina Chege had raised the same concerns.

It is dispiriting that the Cabinet Secretary passed the rebuke on police officers who he believes they opened the exam papers and sent them through Whatsapp. He absolved his ministry from blame, sadly enough, he did not give an immediate solution on the same. And that is why am of the intuition the main source of exam leakage is the KNEC officials. They should expound to the Kenyan people how the examination leakage comes about.

Irritation lies heavily on the Kenyan corrupt officials and that is why I don’t find it convincing that the ministry of education is faultless. This is not the first time that the exam leakage is happening in our schools. More so, it is puzzling enough that those who are concerned have failed to curb it. KNEC alleged that cheating will be seized at the marking stage. This is a predicament I do not want to comprehend because it is a mere wordplay.

As I was talking to this lady teacher in question, I realized that exam leakage is all over and it’s no longer a strike to people. According to that lady teacher, it was an induce to her from the surroundings and therefore, guilt was washing her like an acid bath. Let our leaders be told that we are tired of their devil-may-care tendency. The country is sinking because of corruption and no one seems to heed about safeguarding the situation. The hornbills are too many and they are quick to steal before they check out.

The same students were affected by the strike and it is lamentable that their results will be faced with a lot of scrutiny. These students will be the leaders of tomorrow and I hesitate we shall have a contaminated generation of leaders.

Lastly, I said these words of emphasis to my friend lady teacher, “let the students struggle just as we did.”

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#PERFORMANCE CONTRACT

teachers work

“Teachers I am not yet done with you.” That is the message the government is trying to mutely pass to Kenyan teachers. The ministry of education intends to implement new education regulation which will pin down the teacher who is already sick and tired of intimidation from the government.
The new regulation requires the teacher to sign a performance contract with his/her employer who is the Teacher Service Commission. The Cabinet Secretary is of the opinion that over 50% of the teachers countrywide are not working. That is a statement that surprises many teachers when they are going an extra mile to do what can be done for learners to pass the examination.
It is with deep sorrow that currently teachers have not received their September 2015 salary. The ministry of education should be reminded that teachers are already in “a performance contract” be in the know that it is only a teacher who has to prepare a series of professional documents for teaching before entering the classroom.
The schemes of work are prepared for the whole term which guides the teacher on the work to be covered on a particular period of time. In addition to that, a teacher prepares a daily lesson plan for each subject to be taught, which gives a step by step guide on how to deliver the content therein. It is also mandatory that the same teacher prepares lesson notes for each subject to be taught.
And to intensify the whole matter the teacher is supposed to keep a record of the work covered everyday and a progress record for each learner.
All the mentioned documents are inspected by the officials from the ministry of education when they visit the institution. After the official working hours the teacher is expected to sit down and prepare all aforementioned documents for the following day.
When the government is grumbling about the performance; we wonder if they have forgotten the huge numbers of students in classrooms. It is very unreasonable that a single teacher can handle 70-100 children in a class alone. To heighten the matter, the learning conditions are terrible, the learning resources are not available and the teacher is required to improvise and use locally available material as teaching aids.
Did the world know that teaching profession is one in many professions? And yes they are! Because, they, at one point become nurses to the pupils in class. When a child falls sick it is the duty of the teacher to attend to the child. Teachers are counselors. Parents have left their responsibility to teachers. The already overworked teacher is required to spare his/her time to offer guiding and counseling to the learners. Teachers are lawyers, preachers and even parents to the children that they teach. When parents stopped doing their responsibility we saw the outcome at Eldoret and recently in Nairobi where school going children were caught in a night club. That was direct effect of the long strike that took place and children became indiscipline. Teachers now are faced with a challenge to rectify such behaviours.
If the teacher is to be subjected to more performance contract, oh! Because they are already in a contract, it would be fair if it could be in conditions. The teacher to learner ratio should closely be looked into. And with that effectively dealt with, the teacher will be able to handle the learners well. It is important that the government ensure that learning materials and resources are available for both the teacher and the learner. The question still lingers why would the teacher still be subjected to prepare all the documents mentioned earlier? It would be prudent the poor teacher be left to have only the chalk and the pen.
It is an allowable effort that the Cabinet Secretary wants to streamline the education sector. But such efforts should not entirely be meant to intimidate the teachers who are already doing a commendable work. Such regulations should at least encounter various consultations. Let teachers breath they are already in a performance contract.

HOW FREE IS FREE?

Hold on! It is in uncountable setting that I have had this uncertainty. And I would like someone to cloudless expound to me the real meaning of a word in Oxford Dictionary which is not vivid enough to me in terms of its denotation. My scrutiny lie heavily in the word ‘free’ as used in Free Primary Education, commonly referred to as FPE. The ‘free’ in that version bring a lot of contradictions to many parents who have children in Public Primary Schools. These children in public primary schools are required to access education freely as stipulated in FPE policy. Children are considered to be anybody less than eighteen years of age, children (Act 2001).
Just to recollect the history of FPE it goes back to 1974 and later in 1979 when the Kenya Government launched the initiative.
That initiative was a new dawn for both parents and children.
The FPE initiative had innumerable challenges and collapsed only to be revived by NARK government in 2002 which was their campaign pledge for voters. In that case therefore, in January 2003 President Mwai Kibaki reintroduced the Free Primary Education.
The mystery still lingers, how free is free? It has been in many occasions when the parents have received their children back in their houses. It is for a fact that children have been taken back home asserting they have been sent to collect activity fee. The parents are required to pay the activity fee yearly pausing a question whether the government has exempted it? It is also comic that parents are required to pay other funds which amounts to a lot of money yearly. The schools which are understaffed employ teachers who are paid by the PTA that leading to emergence of PTA money. I also actualized that, a student who is a new comer is required to pay desk fee and admission fee. The same student is also required to pay money for interview which gives a hint the academic level of the learner.
In addition, there are schools where parents are required to pay other school bills like electricity which administrators allege it caters for cost of pumping water. Schools which are fortunate to have computers parents are required to pay computer fee and in other situations parents expected to buy photocopier papers. In most of Public Schools there are days where children are supposed to put on P.E kits uniform which is sold in the school store. These uniforms are overpriced. As that is not enough parents also pay report book money so as to access their children’s examination results.
And it will be imprecise to overlook the monthly examination fee. The examination is done monthly and in other occasions after a fortnight. If a child fails to pay that money he/she is not allowed in school premises leave alone the classroom. The parents are also asked to contribute money to pay the school watchman or the cook if there is a feeding program. Now the tuition issue that makes the Education Cabinet Secretary want to spit up. His directives have always fallen on deaf ears because children still pay money for remedial class.
Apart from wanting to really know what ‘free’ means in free Primary Education Policy, the initiative in question has faced many challenges. The increased enrollment in schools is demanding increment of physical facilities. The classes are crowded and the classroom teachers have to handle more than one hundred children in one classroom. The government should not leave the school administrators to go to bed having a disturbing migraine wondering where to place the children.
I wish ‘free’ would be free or alternatively have the word attached to another connotation altogether. Children from badly off families are not getting full access to their rights of education. If the government claims to be committed to providing Free Primary Education to Public Primary Schools, then it should be unconditionally free. The Cabinet Secretary of Education Jacob Kaimenyi put it incontrovertible that the government will be paying the National Examination fee for children in Public Schools. With that said, I reckon the government should take possession of full responsibility to pay all the examination money for children from lower primary to secondary school.
Let the parents be spared from the pressure of paying fees having in mind that many children in Public Schools come from poverty-stricken families. My esteemed government, it is a heyday for Kenyan children.

ELNINO ERODES ALCOHOLIC DRINK ACT.

 

Hearken to me you mama. Mama I am uncontrollably in tears because of the disgrace that you have induced in me. October 4, 2015 I happened to be among the students who were arrested by the police in a disco hall in Eldoret. Consent me to blame you on the whole predicament. You are a mother who has failed her child; mama you have failed. The day you brought the ogre you call husband in our house is when the puzzle started. Allow me to put some sense in your mind that, that man is not my father; he cannot even qualify to be my washroom’s mat. He is an awful and wicked creature to ever exist under the sun.

Mama you permitted that black-hearted man to brew liquor in my late father’s homestead. Would you brag that my late father is gratified to see him wander in his compound? Answer me mama-speak! How many nights was I forced to attend to drunkard men at the middle of the night? Mama, were you dim-witted?

Days in days out, you never bothered whether it tormented my heart. Woman you also became evil; villain. At school I unexceptionally had a fight with my teachers. Mwalimu never had slightest idea that I was in agony. My homework always remained incomplete, I slumbered in class and was always puzzling. The principal has always been questioning me about my absenteeism. Mama you forced me to do your duties as if I was not your own.

To intensify the matter your dear husband had made me his second wife. Mama I have been your co-wife. And you proved not to care when you started taking liquor and slept like a corpse. Down on the mat where I slept occasionally struggled with that evil man as he tried to defile me. The worst happened the day he took my virginity away. I sobbed the whole night and even wanted to attempt suicide. Mama I helped you and ‘dad’ to sell chang’aa but even getting sanitary pads remained an illusion.

I had to seek solace in drugs and alcohol which made me to slip off from reality. The previous incident at Eldoret is just an icing on the cake. Mama I have been a drug addict. But how could you know? You devil-care-mother. I have been drinking myself to death. The party at the dance hall in Eldoret was a good opportunity for me to sell bhang in bulky. Mama that is how I get money to buy my personal effects because you cannot even buy for me a toilet paper. Woman you are a disgrace to Kenyan mothers.

As I lament, I am in a far away town. Now that am here I will not see that monstrous-looking face of your so called husband. I have fastened to leave the old behind because I have acquired guardians as I unfold. Mama I am disappointed in you. I cannot stop asking myself if I really belong to you. Mama did you carry me in your womb for nine months? It is so unfortunate that you kept the lion together with the lamb.

Be told you society, that on a former occasion with my Cucu she told me that children belong to the society. You society have absconded your undertaking. It is for a fact that nobody cares what children do and nobody lends them an ear. Teachers, I argue you to get closer to students and you will come to a realization that some of us need you more as parents. I beseech my society to take up the challenge. Awaken for salvage.

FIVE WEEKS LATER

 

The reality of empty bank accounts belonging to 288,060 teachers with 40,000 claimed to have been paid, denote an enormous injury for the teachers. It has been a take up arms between the Teachers Service Commission and the teachers’ unions, which has led to the government showing a valiant spirit of defying court orders. After a long cross swords, it’s a question of who had the last laugh between the TSC and the teachers. Mr Justice Abuodha ordered that there would be no victimization of teachers and their September salary, but according to the Secretary General William Sossion , TSC and the government are up to the violation of those orders. The unions have put it clear that they have suspended their strike for 90 days as ordered by the court, it however remains unclear; should we expect another strike early 2016? Let this be pondered because the unions expect the government to comply with the court order awarded by Justice Nduma Nderi awarding teachers 50-60 per cent pay rise.

The bell rang today on 5th October 2015 for assembly after 34 days later after schools were desserted and padlocks remained on the gates in all Public Schools. Teachers were on low tones and could not fail to show their disappointment on the back to class order. They had nothing to rejoice about and hence the learners as innocent as they looked; they could not understand why the “holiday” was too long. Perhaps the USA president Barack Obama changed term dates when he visited Kenya in July. It is for fact that all the candidates fear had started to practically eat a hole in their hearts because they were uncertain of undertaking their national examinations which hang around. The teachers had an opportunity to encourage the learners to embark on their school work, having in mind that examinations are just about to start.

The whole controversy will then shift to the relief teachers employed by TSC this week on contract basis. The TSC had earlier advertised 70,000 vacancies for teachers, which looked like a weapon to scare teachers, especially those who are about to retire and those who had received posting letters in August. The employment and Labour relations Court Judge Nduma Nderi stopped TSC from hiring the teachers which is a case filed by the Trade Union Congress of Kenya. Rumour has it that 10,000 applicants had already entered an agreement of three months before the exercise was stopped. To these teachers, confusion and nightmare will mingle together before the whole issue is resolved by the court. Since everybody is moving to court for justice, the relieved teachers may also move to the court to seek for fair play. There is still a huge shortage of teachers in Public schools. Instead of the TSC taking these teachers into a contract basis, it is actually an opportunity of employing them permanently.

After five weeks on strike, teachers’ expectation has to be put on pending and lamentably enough, the teachers lack the pay rise as well as their September salary. They have gone back to their duties mournful and thinking of unpaid September bills. The schemes work and lesson plans were ready for the content to be delivered today, despite the teachers’ employer shying away from addressing the September salary issue. Teaching is a call and therefore, teachers have opted go back to school to perform their task diligently. The parents and learners especially the candidates, have a reason to smile again following the back to class order. Teachers weep NOT.

NOT READY FOR CHEMISTRY

 

Am not ready for Biology, and heck am not ready for Chemistry and to be more precise, me myself and I are not ready for the entire 2015 Kenya National Examination, which starts on 12th October. I feel like my rights have been violated by the people I trusted the most and I won’t let any folk drag me into blaming my teacher, neither will I blame myself. This very moment, I wish I was the Cabinet Secretary for education or even an official at the Kenya National Education Council because, I would act with speed and precision to save the suffering students of Kenya. The issue of the teachers strike has dug a hole in my heart and what I am feeling is what animals feel when an earthquake looms. Spare me your opinions since I don’t have phobia for examinations neither am I an indisciplined student because trust me, I have never been summoned to the principal’s office.

What troubles me even more is this question, Who the hell will mark my exams? Rumour has it that it could be the NYS, the mention of NYS makes my heart jump into my throat. Perhaps it could be the Kenya Defense Forces which leaves me more faint-hearted that they will confuse my well written composition paper for an Al-shabaab leaflet. Therefore, let me remain idealistic that our teachers will soon go back to school and take us through the examination process. But even with the return of the teachers to schools, I still insist that am not ready for Chemistry. My classroom hours have not been utilized well and yet I will still yell. My teacher completed the syllabus but she was to go through remedial classes during the entire third term. Even as I lament now, the topic Matrix gives me a migraine and what saddens me most is that, the last time I had a talk with my dear teacher, she assured me that this term, she would take my dismay on disturbing topics.

Somebody needs to revisit children’s rights because I have a feeling that somebody has slept on his/her job. My guardians have invested so much in my education through a lot of strain, and they have high expectations from me. My counter parts at Private Schools are doing final touches on revision and I know they won’t suffer the panic that I will go through, especially the initial day of examination. I think the invigilators should let the ‘Mwakenya’ trend in examination rooms in 2015. This won’t be cheating; on contrary esteemed Kenyans, the students will be confirming what the teachers had taught them earlier. Is it not so, that the teachers confirm the answers from a pile of books too when marking our exams? Yes they do for accuracy.

It won’t be a blow to me that mine will remain a voice in the wilderness because my feelings are so true and real. The consequences will be so bitter in that it will affect the youth of tomorrow and that generation is us, the 2015 candidates. Failure in exams will not be received with gratification but instead, there will be a lot of disappointment in every student who will have performed unsatisfactorily. Some will not even attain grades which will enable them join secondary schools of their preferences. And to form four leavers, the reality will dawn to them that courses that they intend to pursue will be out of the question. It is alleged that the government of Kenya has been trying to curb the menace of drug abuse and youth radicalization. If so therefore, I don’t know what this honoured government is doing to ensure that more youth do not become vulnerable to the same. Let it be known today that the outcome will bring awful repercussions in us who are the youth of tomorrow. Oh! The migraine again.

CANT PAY, WONT PAY..

 

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s stand on the teachers’ salary dispute was received with a lot of hostility by Kenyan citizens; to be precise, the teachers of Republic of Kenya. The statement “I CANT PAY, WONT PAY” left a bitter taste in every teacher’s mouth and voila, the teachers became children of a lesser God.

The replacement of the teachers who were retiring between the month of June and December 2015 was ongoing. Some applicants had received posting letters during the month of August and were required to report to their work stations as the third term commenced. And now there was this teacher who had received an employment letter for her first posting. The excitement was building in her heart and even threatening to strangle her the morning schools opened on a Monday 31st August 2015. The previous night, she had pulled the posting letter from the drawer and read it once again, “You are hereby posted to X school in Y Sub County with immediate effect.” The statement assured her without any reasonable doubt of her employer’s commitment.

On 31st August 2015 she woke up as early as she could ready to start the day as a public servant. What that meant was; a new work station, new work mates new responsibilities and a new employer; The Teachers Service Commission. This was the kind of an employee who had never experienced any sort of strike in her entire working experience. This teacher had applied for the TSC vacancy numerous times and had stayed optimistic that one day, she would be absorbed in the system and do what she likes most- teaching.

At the X school the teacher was warmly received and official things done appropriately. First, she was introduced by the Headteacher of the school to the Deputy Headteacher, Senior teacher and lucky enough to the PTA chair-lady who was also present to welcome her to her new work station. Unfortunately, the poor teacher did not get an opportunity to be introduced to the pupils since the morning assembly had already been conducted by the time she reported for duty. The teacher was then given a register for a class whose teacher had not reported on that opening day. She was to take a roll call and teach the other teacher’s subjects before she could be allocated her own teaching subjects. She had the zeal for her work as compared to the other teachers who in their minds new the strike was looming. Later during the day, they had a briefing where the KNUT representative put it in black and white that all teachers were supposed to wait for the directive from the Secretary General William Sossion.

This newly posted teacher never had the slightest idea that the said strike would in the near future make her cross her fingers day in day out. On 1st September 2015, the teacher’s strike became a reality and all the energy the new teacher had, disappeared from her like air from a balloon burst. The strike became a monster which suffocated her in the days that followed. On the social media the headlines read; Teachers’ Salary Dispute, Teachers’ Pay Rise, I can’t Pay, I Won’t pay among other headlines, in regards to the whole issue of teachers payment. It is hard to tell what was going through the mind of the newly posted teacher, as the parties involved seemed to take the teachers for a ride. Just to put myself in her shoes, she had the fear of losing the job because of numerous threats from TSC to sack the striking teachers. When a teacher is posted by the TSC, a probation period of three months follows. Meaning that this newly posted teacher could end up being on probation for more months because she has not carried out her duties as expected by the employer.

Court orders from our distinguished courts to involved parties fell on deaf ears. It was now clear that the constitution of Kenya that was voted for by majority of citizens was being trampled upon. The whole issue of the teachers’ work boycott has taken another angle, making it a huge political monster. It is therefore paramount that the government  in power does not realize the suffering and humiliation that workers go through during the strike. The threats have become nightmares and worse still, all the striking teachers have no salaries checking in. The government quickly forgets that these teachers are also citizens who have children to feed, school fees to pay and have basic needs taken care of. We need redemption.