Kenya Teachers And Government Clash Over Standards

A showdown is looming between teachers in Kenya and the government over the issue of standards. Basic Education Minister Sam Ongeri argues teachers must sign performance standard agreements which spell out what they seek to accomplish and have those documents sent on a quarterly basis to designated agencies which would evaluate if teachers are accomplishing goals. He wants teachers held to the same standards as any other public servant. Teacher unions fear moving in this direction ends concepts such as tenure and leaves teachers at the mercy of public officials as to what they are doing in the classroom. Professor Ongeri insists “nobody will force u to set the standards. You will do it yourself, something that you are sure of achieving.”

At first glance, the Kenyan government desire to establish standards appears reasonable, but the history of standards invariably results in developing tests to measure performance and this results in transforming teaching into preparation for tests. There is always fear among teachers that public officials, rather than themselves, will eventually determine the standard.

Unlike selling automobiles, teaching is a long loop occupation and results may require months to achieve. The idea of quarterly reports is a hindrance to effective teaching.