Lydia Nzomo

Kenyans are staring at another Teacher’s strike which has been called by the union leaders following disagreements between the teacher’s employer and the teaching force.

The education sector has seen a spike in industrial unrest in the recent past and perhaps it would be prudent to scratch beneath the surface a bit.

Worker earnings decayed under the jubilee leadership, thanks to corruption and industrial unrest had to follow because of factors occasioned by high inflation. Jubilee also imposed taxes on almost all basic goods making life even harder for the already struggling workforce.

Put that aside and delve into how the mandarins at TSC handled the strike! Lydia Nzomo was out of her depths, fumbling on national television with sentences whose sense could not be made of. Nancy Macharia also chose to do a disappearing act, leaving the old Nzomo to hold fort for her.

Disgruntled teachers went on strike even before the union leaders could call it and it can be argued that the Nderi judgement played a huge role. The government refused to budge choosing to use strong arm tactics instead. It was also befuddling to many that at the height of this struggle, billions were being carted away from the NYS using gunny bags from Nigeria. Meanwhile, Uhuru had declared a “can’t pay won’t pay” stance

The Nzomo interviews opened a sneak view into who she really is. Many questioned her professor- hood for she didn’t come out as a honest PhD holder. The Kenyan scene is littered with many fake paper holders, the latest one being the deputy president whose PhD is being ridiculed by all and sundry. That is not to say that DP is an academic fraud but his political life has been fraught with many allegations bordering on graft.

Lydia Nzomo is a PhD holder but her actions or lack of the same betray her. She is the champion behind the infamous TPAD, a policy copy pasted from the United States, a first world country.

He dissertation was on the Principals Emotional Intelligence and how it impacts on performance of students. It is a wonder why she didn’t include the whole teaching unit in her dissertation. Furthermore, almost all principals don’t teach, they simply manage school issues especially students personal issues especially food!

Lydia claims that a higher emotional intelligence leads to a higher academic and extracurricular performance in students. That’s on principals alone. The question is where is the classroom teacher in this study?

She did not delve into factors which promote or degrade emotional intelligence. All she wants is a higher reading, other factors regardless. Nzomo does not appreciate that some students take months before seeing a principal entering their class. She does not appreciate that the classroom teacher is the force behind good or bad performance.

Lydia only concerns herself with principals and administrators. She sees classroom teachers as objects which can be moved at whim.

The crux of my argument is the matter of teacher transfer and promotions and how the same impacts on their social, emotional and financial well being. Lydia went for further studies and used her papers to climb both the academic and pecuniary ladder. She does not want teachers to enjoy the same. She is instead imposing her subject of study in the running of the education sector, however faulty her paper is.

Classroom teachers are suddenly objects whose role becomes filling and filing performance contracting papers as espoused by her in her thesis. The question is: Why can’t the factor of emotional intelligence also apply in the matter of classroom teachers?

If emotional intelligence is all that important to old Lydia, why hasn’t the department taken steps to harness the same from regular teachers? How can emotional intelligence be improved? What factors degrade it? What can be done to prevent degradation? Can emotional intelligence be used in isolation?

Teaching is about family and a broken teacher cannot deliver. Children must learn in an environment where they see teachers as surrogate parents. It is reported elsewhere that some women running the department are unmarried and might not appreciate the matter of family but the importance of family as a unit cannot be gainsaid.

If emotional intelligence is all that important to old Lydia, why hasn’t the department taken steps to harness the same from regular teachers? How can emotional intelligence be improved? What factors degrade it? What can be done to prevent degradation? Can emotional intelligence be used in isolation?

You shake a teacher’s family, You shake his person! He will become aloof, removed, detached, wild and uncaring. Children and students will be the victims of his degraded emotions.

This is not to say that transfers are bad! Nope! Transfers are good and welcome. Change is always as good as a rest. Transfers must have the human touch. And with human comes family. There’s no humanity without family. If a married teacher is being transferred, the matter of his family must come into consideration. Homes must not be closed because some unmarried woman at the TSC is bent on implementing a half baked policy designed by another wild woman. There is also the matter of urban setup versus the rural one. Teachers working in the rural areas are another story altogether. They should be transferred within a radius mindful of their homesteads and the African social setup. Not all teachers work in Nairobi! In the African setup, there are farms, animals and young one going to local schools. This comes in handy factoring the little pay Kenyan teachers suffer.

Of course there are funny men too at the ministry. Look at Dr. Julius Jwan for example! He brought the matter of democracy in student leadership. It is a wonder what that has to do with curricula. He avoids interviews and cannot expound on curriculum issues yet he works at that critical department. Professor Magoha believes in insults while addressing important gatherings and it is a wonder how insults enrich emotions.

It is clear that the people running the education ministry are not working as a unit. The minister lowers entry requirements for teacher colleges without consulting her colleagues at TSC. What would Lydia say of a D grade teacher and emotional intelligence?

What about the deadlock on career progression! Doesn’t it degrade emotional issues? Nzomo believes that a school is a business environment and the headteachers are CEOs. Doesn’t that make our children mere customers? According to Nzomo, the only role model in a school setup is the Principal, not teachers, a group she and her staff at TSC have objectified!

Look at the ruckus surrounding the rollout of the new system and you will see my take. Belio Kipsang! How do you roll out a new system without materials?

What about Matiangi stopping parents from seeing their children for an entire term? Doesnt that hurt children emotionally? Not even prayers are allowed in the third term of the year! I thought the spiritual and the emotional are interlinked. That only proves the fact that each individual at the ministry has personal policy goals which cares less about the overall goals of the ministry.

My final point is that we have people with titles in charge of our education, but they may not be equipped to handle the docket. The same can also be said of the politicians currently running the country. They are clueless. Lost.. By the way let’s not forget that Kibaki, a respectable intellectual had little time for Nzomo! He saw through her..the question again is: Is Uhuru up to the job? Why, if at all he has the ability, hasn’t he seen the institutional failures bedeviling the education sector?

Merry Christmas!

Over to you Kenyans.

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