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Posted by African Press International on July 5, 2018

By Dickens Wasonga.

What could be ailing the giant a academic institutions of Nyanza? This appears to be the elephant in the room that education stakeholders from the region are now grappling with.

In just one week , three national schools in the area have been closed down indefinitely and students sent packing due to students unrest.

And what appears to be a departure from the previous such incidents, accusations are leveled against none other than the school’s principals.

Maranda Boys national ,known for its excellent academic performance, was closed on Wednesday last week after top education officials from Nyanza got wind of a plan by students to go on rampage.

According to the regional coordinator of education Mr Richard Chepkawai , it was the intelligence they received from a neighboring school that they acted upon to swiftly avert what he described as an incident that would have led to serious destruction in the school.

The unrest began at the Kisumu girls, also a national school where the students on the rampage caused a lot of damage . The girl’s school was closed on Tuesday indefinitely.

And in Siaya county the students of Ng’iya girls also went on the rampage forcing the school’s administration to close the school .

Those at the top management of education affairs from the ministry of education in Nyanza say the upsurge in school riots has a common thread- one that they believe has everything to do with the changes effected by the teachers commission early this year dabbed delocalization.

Under this move, Teachers who were had been working in their home schools and had worked at one station for over nine years were to be transferred and most of the schools so far affected in the ongoing student skirmishes had their principals moved , apart from Ng’iya girls .

” This is a clear manifestation of resistance to change. There exists a cartel in this region that would not want changes being implemented. They were benefiting from corruption and they are the ones scheming this again. We can see the pattern and the timing , given they know there is another intended transfers that they feel might affect them ” Said an education officer involved in the investigations.

Others however disagree with this assertion and instead are blaming the new administrators of being the reason for the unrest.

At Kisumu girls for example , students accused the principal of being inaccessible according to Mr Chepkawai, allegations which he promised will be investigated and a conclusive report obtained to inform action.

The education coordinator said the students also claimed the principal had introduced instant changes that met resistance.

” They said that entertainment was scrapped without any alternative form being introduced. we have information that earlier there was uncoordinated approach to the issue of entertainment which the principal sought to regulate to be able to regulate the students duding such occasions.” He added.

He also noted that what was happening was a clear case of people who are resisting changes which are otherwise intended to improve performance and the general management of these institutions.

He said he was aware that changes introduced at kisumu girls targeted to streamline how funds were being managed .

” The principal is strict and has sealed loop- holes that would allow pilferage of school funds as it were. We have information,although we are still probing this, that some teachers and even a section of the board would get opportunity to trade with the school through proxy firms. This is what we are seeing , a case of graft fighting back. The unrest points to incitement by some teachers.” He said.

Chepkawai said the same was the reason for problems at Maranda where he alleged some teachers and a section of the board would supply items to the school through phony companies. He said the current principal was putting measures in place to protect the interest of the school.

The coordinator said he was not aware of allegations that the principal was supplying sugar to to the school as alleged and promised to investigate the claims. The Principal Mr Edwin Namachanja was also alleged to be inaccessible, exhibiting high highhandedness and allegedly doesn’t involve other key leaders of the school while making critical decisions. Before he was moved to Maranda he was the principal Kamusinga high in Western region.

The regional education boss said he was only aware that students were protesting food ration and quality of food served. He however appeared to suggest there was nothing wrong if schools would procure items like sugar directly from factories if doing so would be for the benefit of the school as a way of saving money.

He clarified that no damage was witnessed at Maranda adding that the plan by the students was foiled before it could be executed.

But at Ng’iya, those who are opposed to the leadership of the principal Mrs Florence Okut say she has over -stayed and was not in charge of the happenings at the school she heads and wants her removed to another school.

They claim she has been trading with the school , a claim we could not independently verify as she never responded to our inquiries .

Unconfirmed reports indicated that a section of students were opposed to one of the ICT teachers and also had issues with the acting Dormitories mistress .

However it is not clear why , if these issues raised by the students were true , it never got to the attention of the school’s administration through the school council for immediate redress.

Was the issue of delocalization being implemented by the ministry through TSC rushed? And why would teachers gang up and plot unrest across the region , to ensure the changes are frustrated and as away of blackmailing their employer into retaining them in certain work station?

The PS Education added a new twist to the matter when he appeared to suggest the unrest was motivated by the fear to face exams by the learners.

Could this be the case and who should be responsible for adequate preparations ahead of the national examinations ?

As at last week, Nyakach girls tension remained high although the regional education coordinator insisted the situation had been put under control and there was no reason to panic.

He said security personnel were guarding the institution round the clock .

Mr Chepkawai also disclosed that security was on high alert in the rest of the schools and he had conducted impromptu visits to a number of them to talk wit the principals on the need to remain vigilant.

Before the reports of the unrest, 26 schools mainly from Luo Nyanza had converged at Kisumu girls for inter school debate.

One of the officials from the ministry who is part of the ongoing probe said they suspect the plot to cause mayhem could have been possibly discussed during the function.

” Ideally schools attending such occasions must ensure they leave early so that they are all back in their respective schools by 6 pm . It is curious that a school like Maranda left Kisumu at 6 pm . What was the reason for the late departure and we would want to establish who was the accompanying teacher”

He said the Maranda boys had to be forced to leave the girl’s school by the security guards when it became apparent it was getting late.

Even the information about the impending attack at Maranda was reportedly brought to the attention of the education officials by an intelligence source from Ngiya girls,which points to a clear sign of conspiracy.


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