December 20, 2005.
The Nation (Nairobi)
Visually impaired teachers in schools for the disabled are up in arms over what they term mistreatment by school heads.
They have also alleged gross irregularities in the way the schools are managed, citing massive corruption.
They accused school heads of diverting donor funds to personal use.
They petitioned the Government to investigate the matter and address their plight urgently saying, the ills were threatening the education of disabled children
Speaking to the Nation in Kisumu yesterday, the teachers, drawn mainly from special schools in Nyanza Province, said able heads of schools had taken advantage of their condition to trample on their rights.
Unilateral interdictions, denial of access to school facilities and frustration, they said, were the order of the day.
They described the problems they faced as elaborate attempts by the school heads to sabotage their work and paint them as non-performers.
The teachers also spoke of working under constant intimidation from the headteachers who normally threaten to instigate their interdiction should they reveal the irregularities.
Already, two teachers in Rachuonyo District have been interdicted after they reported such irregularities to the area education office, they claimed.
Through spokespersons Elmad Songe and Rose K'Oweru, the teachers said most of their schools lacked proper administrative structures and were being run in an ad hoc manner.
The institutions, they said, lacked school committees, boards of governors and parent-teacher associations to oversee operations.
Besides, the schools had no functioning timetables.
The situation, they said, had been compounded by the insensitive school heads who lacked proper training in managing such institutions.
Such heads "have made it extremely difficult for us to teach, since the environment is that of threats and intimidation.
"We live in constant fear of being victimised if we speak about these, and we have seen it happen," Ms K'Oweru said.
The teachers said they had had enough, hence their bold move to speak openly about the issue so that relevant authorities could salvage the education of disabled children.
"We have had enough. It's time the Government moved in to put things right, otherwise these institutions will crumble soon," Mr Songe added.
The teachers also took issue with local education officials whom they said had failed to address the issues despite numerous complaints from them.
Some education officials, they alleged, were working in cahoots with the heads to frustrate them.
But Nyanza provincial director of education Abdullahi Abdi said interdictions were done in accordance with the teacher's code of regulations.
They were "nothing out of the ordinary," he said.
However, he promised to investigate the allegations.
Source URL: http://allafrica.com/stories/200512200620.html.
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