Teacher Strike: A Case of Failed Leadership?

Published on 12th September 2011

The recent strikes by teachers in Kenya and Uganda are a clear indication of failed leadership in the region. Governments which cannot   guarantee the safety, prosperity and  welfare of  their own people have reason to exist.

Education   like Agriculture is a key sector of the economy and a country’s development and requires serious budgeting attention. It defeats logic for the Minister for Finance to openly accept that the money that was allocated to the education sector was diverted to the Ministry of Defence. Why   did   this happen? Such remarks raise very serious   questions on the government’s priorities in terms of budgeting. Why should the government  spend money buying military equipments such as tanks  while its people are dying from hunger?  Kenya as a country has never been at war and yet billions of shillings are spent every year buying military equipment that has never been used or tested.

Creating political institutions and half-baked policies such as free education without proper planning and budgeting is myopic and criminal. What is required in Kenya today is not quantity education but quality.  Kenyans want a society where people are qualified and employed and promoted on merit and not mediocrity which are fundamental liberal values in leadership.

Africa is stagnating because of half baked leadership and personnel. People are not employed based on qualifications and merit but on nepotism and tribalism basis. The 8-4-4 system of education was a political creation by retired president Daniel Arap Moi. Many employers have complained about its standards.

Several universities have been created and colleges upgraded on political mileages, yet the government is not keen on ensuring that the institutions raise their standards to produce quality education. Moreover, it is not right to create political learning institutions without expanding employment opportunities to absorb such talents.

It is sad that leadership in Kenya and most African countries are not keen in ensuring quality education in their countries. Instead of improving on quality education in their own countries, they prefer sending their children overseas for further education. Most legislators in Kenya either have their children studying in special private schools or have sent them abroad through government scholarships which are actually meant for the poor and disadvantaged children.

Africa is yearning for genuine leadership. The strike by teachers in Kenya and Uganda provides an opportunity for parents and learners to demand for real change in leadership. There is no future without   quality education.”

With skyrocketing unemployment, hunger and inflation, the governments of Kenya and Uganda have failed their electorate. The education, agriculture and Finance sectors have failed completely and yet these are key leading sectors for any county’s development. Consequently, should not be compromised, lured or duped into cheap negotiations which have no basis at all.
By Denise A. O.Kodhe
Executive Director,
The Institute for Democracy, Leadership & Empowerment in Africa- IDEA, Nairobi, Kenya.

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