If productivity could be measured in terms of threats then the Ministry of Education is possibly the most productive ministry ever! Around this time every year, students and pupils sitting for KCSE and KCPE respectively are threatened with all manner of consequences if they are caught cheating with no care as to what these threats do to their psyche – cheating in exams notwithstanding.
The ministry has now extended the threats to parents and teachers promising to work with the asset recovery unit to recall certificates of parents and teachers who are aiding children to cheat in examinations? I think we need a moment of silence to let that sink.
It’s unbelievable that top education officers, sat in a board room somewhere and combed through a number of recommendations from reports done by the ministry and other reports by the Parliamentary committee on Education and decided the best cause of action was to threaten parents and teachers that they will go for their certificates as a way of dealing with the rampant cases of cheating in exams. Yet this appears to be the modus operandi for the government in 2018.
A few months ago, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) with the blessings of the same ministry decided to threaten the children burning schools with criminal prosecution that will keep them from getting any employment for the rest of their life. This is despite the fact that, both the CID and the ministry have officers who are familiar with the psychology behind violent behavior among teenagers and can therefore offer very useful recommendations as opposed to the fighting fire with fire mentality on display.
At the height of the school arson, MPs debated the need to have Chaplains in school to help guide the students spiritually. And while we have commended that act on this blog, we also recommend that MPs in the education committee give direction on this matter beyond the spiritual dimension.
For instance, why are we turning a blind eye to the conditions under which public schools operate? This is a country where some students wake up early to read while others wake up early to fetch water. The inequality in public schools is so high that there are schools where students see the practical equipment like burettes and pipettes for the first time on the exam day, having only seen it in books they shared the entire four years of their study.