Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday urged the government to immediately suspend strict anti-cheating curbs, saying they have “backfired” and fuelled unrest and arson.
The measures have caused trouble by victimising students and teachers, “turning them into suspects and criminals in the name of curbing cheating,” the former Prime Minister said in a statement.
Several ODM lawmakers blamed Education CS Fred Matiang’i for the fires and called on him to resign.
The so-called “war against cheating” has failed, Raila said.
“The government must immediately abandon authoritarian policies it is adopting and announce a return to the old order respecting the unique traditions of various schools, pending detailed consultations,” he said.
According to Raila, there is no justification for non-candidates to stay home during exams and for candidates to sit exams without the benefit of teachers to help them prepare.
“It is evident these radical measures were taken without adequate consultations and they have backfired. Teachers are so critical to the success of education policies that no competent government can imagine proceeding with its theories against their advice, as is the case today,” he said.
The cheating problem starts at the Kenya National Examinations Council, which is charged with setting up exams, keeping materials safe and administering tests, Raila said.
“Knec is the body that should produce the suspects and the people to go to jail when exams are leaked. It is the body we should be investigating and reforming — not the candidates, the students and the teachers. Teachers, candidates and parents being targeted today are victims of the corruption and institutional failure at Knec,” he argued.
Meanwhile four ODM lawmakers yesterday attributed the wildfire in the sector to the Matiang’s “unilateral and radical reforms” implemented without input of key stakeholders.
They are ODM treasurer Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Geoffrey Odanga (Mathayos) and Busia woman representative Florence Mutua.
“My friend Matiang’i has been operating this sector as a personal business. Even at a family level, you need a little consultation. This is not the way to go in modern management. These dictatorial tendencies have cost this country for too long,” Bosire said.