Abolishing Boarding Schools a new Priority for Ruto Government. How about the Laptops?

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Erratic Ruto government now goes after boarding schools for Kenyan kids after the PS for Education Belio Kipsang abruptly announced that boarding schools for children ages 1 – 9 will be abolished almost immediately.

The strangest and just absolute nonsense about this hasty decision is that kids need to be with their parents to bring them up, instead of handing that responsibility to boarding schools.

If I was a parent with my kids in a boarding school, I would visit them all the time to make sure they are doing good and are happy. I will make sure I am a big part of their lives. If any parent is not doing that now, they will not do any better when those kids stay with them and go to day schools. You do not need to stuff the kids in their parents’ faces for them to take care of them.

The real issue with boarding schools at any level is the cost of keeping our kids in those schools. If this issue was cost related for taxpayer money and for parents, it would make sense. But the idea that the Ruto government will be involved in parenting issues is just silly. Let parents do their job and you do yours.

And how long has Ruto and his friends been talking to parents about these kinds of changes or this is just something some PS bored of doing nothing and not being in the news cooks up then declares as public policy? When did the Ruto cabinet meet and discuss this issue?

Here are the details we know:

New Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang’ revealed on Tuesday that parents will have to take their primary schools kids to day schools.

The net effect of the radical policy means that pupils transiting to Junior Secondary Schools will join day schools in their home areas.

“We must create a way in which we can be with our children and the only way is through day schooling. The first nine years of learning that are Grades 1 to 9, and the direction that the government is taking will be day schooling,” Kipsang’ said.

Kipsang’ said that parents have the primary responsibility as first educators to walk with their children and ensure that they acquire the right values they desire them to have.

“We cannot outsource our responsibility as we parents, we only co-parent with teachers but we cannot outsource parenting from the teachers,” Kipsang’ said.

“Going forward, day schooling will be the direction, that’s the only way we shall be able to engage with our children.”

Kipsang’ made the revelations when he represented President William Ruto for the official opening ceremony of the 18th Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA.

The primary school heads are meeting in Mombasa for their Annual General Meeting at the Sheik Zayed Children’s Welfare Center.

Let me give free advice to Ruto and his confused mob. First of all, start by taking a look at the primary boarding schools in Kenya. Take this small sample of boarding schools in Nairobi.

  • Nairobi Primary School
  • Augustana Academy – Primary
  • Westlands Primary School
  • St. Mary Academy Primary
  • Shangilia Mtoto Wa Africa Primary
  • Rev. Osakaise Precious Centre & School – Primary
  • St. Martins Primary School
  • Loresho Primary School
  • Kabete Rehabilitation School
  • Karura SDA Church School – Primary
  • St. Mary Academy Jacaranda Primary
  • The Kings School
  • Josnah Primary School
  • Welkim Academy

A few things will emerge when you pay attention. Those schools are primarily for very rich Kenyans who put their kids in academies that are very exclusive and expensive. Others are run by religious institutions. The third category is run by philanthropists to accommodate children with disabilities.

The rich guys are not going to let you take their schools and as a matter of fact, those are people rich enough to have their children taught all day at home by paid teachers. The religious boarding schools are going to be a problem for Mr. Bwana Asifiwe.

How about the schools for kids with disabilities some of whom can’t even make it to day schools on their own? Simply put, this is the most unnecessary waste of time the Ruto government can put as a priority for them.

All those schools are private schools. What business does the government have to tell private investors what to do? Oh, Ruto is doing this to make sure kids stay with their parents. How is that his business? In terms of parenting, Ruto should worry more about parents starving with their children who also sleep on the hard flow because their parents cannot afford basic things like food or a bed for their kids. That is a very tough way to do parenting. Can Ruto help with that first?

There are more serious issues Kenyan parents and kids face in education at the primary school level and the biggest and most glaring are dilapidated buildings, kids learning under trees, zero basic facilities for washrooms, water, and electricity. In some, kids have to go and take poo in the bushes near the schools.

Most schools have no desks or chairs for students. It is a jungle out there for kids and the government is doing absolutely nothing about that. If Ruto announced today that they are allocating Shs. 10 billion to rehabilitate primary schools the country would be very happy. But no, that is not even an issue for the big government chaps because their kids never attend those schools.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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