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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ban on holiday tuition sends mixed signals

By James Mwai

The ban on the August holiday tuition in Kenya in all primary and secondary schools by Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo has thrown the spanner to the works in the country. Learners have been left under a lead-heavy cloud of confusion after being turned away from schools when they went to open for tuition while the rest were forced to close their books after beginning the remedial classes. 

The performance on the up-coming KCPE and KCSE national examinations is hanging in the balance since it mostly rely on the August holiday tuition. The worst is even in the offing after a recent announcement by the giant Kenya National Teachers Union (KNUT) that there will be a nationwide teacher’s strike on 3rd September when schools are expected to resume for third term.

The declaration by the minister that the August remedial teaching famously referred to as tuition be terminated countrywide like any other illegal activity was received with mixed signals. It came as a hard blow to students and some parents who had been funding the exercise in the past. KNUT also did not welcome the move.

Students going home after Education Minister  banned holiday tuition
In Sipili area of Laikipia West District, students have arranged for private tuitions in several locations. Some gather in churches while others in homesteads. They have also hired tutors to facilitate the exercise. Currently, parents are willing to cater for these tuitions after noting that their children spend most of the time idling around. This has been instigated by lack of heavy manual work this season. 

Ng’arua Maarifa Centre has witnessed an influx of student population visiting the Centre to utilize its library services. Both primary and secondary school students come to the centre to study and borrow books. 

A vox pop conducted by Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) in the area revealed that many teachers are ready to distance themselves from any liability should the KCPE and KCSE performance be dismal. However, some students are expressing deep regret for registering for the national exams since they are not adequately prepared to undertake it. They were concerned that 3rd term is the shortest learning season in the Kenya schools calendar and they may not clear the syllabus which had been scheduled to be taken care of by the August holiday tuition.

Part of the reasons advanced by the minister for prohibiting the tuition is its use by teachers to cash on poor parents. He also argued that the recent unrest witnessed in schools are contributed by these tuition since students do not get enough time to rest after studying.

Schools are scheduled to open for third term on 3rd September, 2012.

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