The recently released KCPE results indicated that performance at the greater Kisii area( Kisii and Nyamira counties) was below expectations, which led to some demonstrations, even some parents demanded that a name of one school be changed from Nyakemincha to a new name(how this will improve performance remains to be seen). The question we should ask ourselves is: what went wrong or what has gone wrong, and what can we do to uplift performance? We may ask ourselves the following questions:
1. Do we have qualified teachers like other counties, and are schools better stffed?
2. Do we have facilities?
3. Do we have proper co-ordination between teachers and parents?
4.What about discipline-both teachers and students, even parents?
5. Do we hav ewell qualified people in school boards?
6. Are schools properly managed?
7. Do our schools have models for success?
8. What is the current student teacher ratio? Is it the ideal ratio?
9. What about motivation for both student and teacher? Do we have this in place?
10.Have we empowered parents to demand success from the teachers?
11.Who is the worker; the student or the teacher?
This list is not exhaustive, but can guide us see where we have failed, and do something.If some of these questions can be answered, we can improve the education standards in our schools. I wolud like highlight some areas which need to be addressed:
Parents and teachers must work together if we have to improve the education standards in our two counties.Parents must help teachers to ensure that their children attend school regularly, and do their both classwork an dhomework without failure. Parents must instill discipline on their kids. Some teachers find it difficult to assist a child who have not been disciplined by their parents.
(B). Our schools must be run as business entities. Organizations whose CEO are not able to deliver are shown the door, and those who deliver are rewarded. Our teachers must be rewarded where reward is due, and if they do not do well, they must be told so point plank. As all other civil servants, teachers must also sign performance contract, and if they do not perform, they must be told at the time they are evaluated, and any shortfall mus be pin pointed out.
There must be a code of conduct for teachers, an dif it is there,it must be enforced. All professions have code of ethics, which every professional in that profession must follow or subsribe to. If such code exists, it must be seen that it is being adhered to.
Students must be made to be workers, an dnot the teacher. Teachers are only facilitators. Teachers should evaluate students on what they teach them to see if they have understood what the teacher has been teaching.Let our teachers do their work professionally, and those who interfere with their work should b etold off.
When our teachers were teaching far from home( I am not saying that they should not teach near their homes), performance was good. Some good teachers who teach near their homes are normally being compromised, an dthus lowering standards.
Let teachers come to the table and tell the people(we stake holders) what they would like done for the standards to improve. Let the teachers lead the change in collaboration with the local communities.
What of the teachers union? Is it only there to fight for the teachers' salary increases, and forgetting their performance ?The KNUT must inform their members that if they would like to be well remunerated, they must perform. Teachers, like all other public servants depend on us to pay them. KNUT does not pay them, but taxpayers. Why should we pay people who are not performing?
Schools should organize filed days whereby professionals, business people etc, can be invited to address the students, and motivate them by their speeches, in turn students will have been encourgaed to strive to succeed so that they can in turn hold such positions in future.These professionals can mentor students, students can ask questions about how they can also be professionals in many areas. Some of these students have never been addressed by even politicians, but only their teachers.
Students should be exposed to other students in the country, by organizing study tours like debating clubs. These will motivate students. Study tours to manufacturing facilities, hospitals, electricity generating stations should be encouraged. These tours will definetely motivate students, an dmake them work harder.
School boards should have professionls among their members. People like businessman should also be included in such boards.They can use their business acumen to encourage schools administrators on how they should run schools like business enterprises(ensuring success).
This list is not exhaustive. If we follow some of these recommendations an dfix them, we can improve our education standards. Education is not filling a pail with water, but it is lighting a fire. Let us all come forward and fix this mess, as it is only education which we can giv eto our children, an dit is the only thing which can lead us ou tof poverty. Eucation can take us to the promised land of opportunities. If our children are well educated, jobs will look for them, an dnot the other way round as it is now. Any body with ideas/ thoughts?