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Assure teachers in northeastern region of safety

By Stephen Ndegwa
Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Education CS Prof George Magoha.
In summary

The fact that Kenyan politicians are some of the most selfish leaders anywhere is obvious.

May be it is the means by which they enter electoral office, that makes them pour scorn on those they were begging for votes from. 

That the northern region is generally bandit-infested is nothing to belabour. Since my days as a graduate teacher in Lamu island over two decades ago, residents of the area live in perpetual fear of surprise attacks from invisible enemies, whose agenda is still unknown.

In recent years, teachers, particularly in northeastern region, have become targets of a hotchpotch of terrorists.

The bloodthirsty thugs pick out non-Muslims and those not from the region, then proceed to terrorise them.

Of course, it is not as casual as I am making it sound. These are our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, friends and other relations that meet their end in the most barbaric manner possible. 

But what do politicians from the north say when the Teachers Service Commission finally throws in the towel and withdraw their staff from the region? They throw tantrums, shouting how the action increases marginalisation of the region...blah blah!

Even the educated politicians from the region, some of I was in class with, argue at the same level with the herders they left grazing the dry lands! 

In addition to being indigeneous to the area, these politicians fly in and out of home, and are always under guard, paid for by public funds. They see no problem with the targeted teachers meeting their waterloo on the killing fields of their graze lands.

It is so unfair, inhuman even! Unless the leaders are slave drivers, it is absurd for one to force people to work in an openly hostile environment, as they live in comfort and security. 

I said the following some years back on this column, and will repeat it. For their personal safety and peace, all non-indigenous teachers should leave northeastern to more friendly locations.

The TSC should identify graduate teachers from the region, and post them back home, until such a time that the region’s leaders will give personal assurances of the safety of  “outsiders”. Period.

***

Still on matters education, speaking the truth in Kenya is a liability. Persons of integrity are seen as bad for business or professional development; they are sidelined and shunted to the side for “standing in the way”.  

Kenyans love those who lie to them, and exalt them to high office when the opportunity arises. Thus to get ahead, one must perfect the art of posing and pretending.

 Spouses lie to each other to avoid antagonism, or have an upper hand in the relationship. Sorry, I digress!

This is about the few public servants still offering genuine leadership in this country, even amidst opposition from those that their efforts are supposed to help. 

A couple of weeks ago, Education Cabinet secretary Prof George Magoha talked about the uselessness that has become our university system.

Consequently, Magoha is leading a strategy aimed at enabling the government to undertake mergers or acquisitions of both private and public universities.

Of course, this is quite an unpopular initiative, because it steps on the toes of many beneficiaries of a mediocre system.

Those who teach at our universities— both public and private—should be honest and admit that the products coming from downstream are beyond repair.

For instance, we have basic reading and writing courses at university level, teaching material that students should have studied at high school or below. 

—The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst. [email protected]

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