Nairobi — The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) now says Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo should have sought public opinion first, before imposing a ban on tuition during weekends and public holidays.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Saturday, Secretary General Akelo Misori explained that parents and students needed to voice their concerns on the matter since they are the ones affected.
He maintained that extra coaching was necessary for students who are slow learners and also to enable schools that don't have enough amenities to catch up in the curriculum.
"We have schools in this country which have never known good staffing trends. So you realize that the student is going to form four or is sitting for his KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) examination when one subject area has not been covered all along," he stated.
"This is the reason for which there is a prescription for extra tuition and if the Minister wants to criminalise it, then it means that due to inequalities, students may not even compete favourably with others."
He indicated that this will ensure there is a level playing field for all students across the country regardless of the shortcomings experienced.
"Public opinion should be sought first. We must also have tangible education policies running the sector. The minister should not just speak on the floor of Parliament that 'Kenyan children must be children,' who does not know that we need to have children who are well balanced in their growth," he said. "What is there is that the public needs to understand that this is what is coming on board."
Last week, the minister reiterated that strong disciplinary action will be taken against any public or private school ignoring the directive abolishing holiday tuition.
Kilonzo said that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Code of Conduct bars a public officer from charging or accepting any fee for tuition of a student, even if it is given outside official working hours.
He indicated that any head teacher entertaining the practice will be punished and the School Boards of Management will be dissolved.
He said that he has written to the TSC to ensure that all head teachers comply with the ban on holiday tuition. He explained that the extra tuition schools provide during holidays is a gross abuse of the rights of children, under the Constitution.
He emphasised that students should be afforded an opportunity to relax since the curriculum developed can be covered over a specific period of time.
He further stated that they should be accorded an opportunity to relax, and learn important social skills through interactions as this is very important in coping with the world of work and the complexities of modern life when they come of age.