Sunday, 31 December 2017

At least 36 dead, 18 hurt after bus collides with tuck at Migaa

Migaa bus crash
The scene of the crash at Migaa along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway where a bus has collided with a truck on December 31, 2017. At least 36 people have been confirmed dead. PHOTO | JOSEPH OPENDA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
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At least 36 people have been confirmed dead after a Nairobi-bound bus collided with a truck at Migaa along the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
Among the dead include the driver of the truck and his loader while 28 bodies were retrieved from the ill-fated bus.
The truck was heading to Eldoret.
Thirty people were confirmed dead at the scene while another four succumbed to injuries while receiving treatment at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.
Among the four who died in hospital were three children aged two months, two years and 10 years and one adult aged 35years.
Two more victims of the crash also died while undergoing treatment at the Molo Sub-County Hospital, according to Mr Dominic Mburu, the hospital's adminstrator.
Several other people were seriously injured in the crash which occurred at around 3.30am Sunday.
Migaa road crash
The truck which collided with a bus at Migaa on December 31, 2017. Both its driver and loader died in the crash. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Confirming the incident, Rift Valley Traffic Enforcement Officer Zero Arome said the speeding bus which was travelling from Busia was being driven on the wrong lane when it collided with the truck head on.
Mr Arome confirmed that the bus was carrying 46 passengers at the time the crash happened.
The injured people were rushed to Molo Sub-County Hospital and the Nakuru Level Five Hospital.
Five seriously injured victims were later transferred from the Molo hospital to Nakuru Level Five Hospital after they developed complications.
One victim is still hospitalised at the Molo hospital in critical condition.
Migaa bus crash
The mangled wreckage of the bus which collided with a truck at Migaa killing at least 30 people on December 31, 2017. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
At the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, at least 22 survivors of the crash were brought in.
Seven were admitted with serious injuries on the head, chest and limbs.
Nakuru Level Five Hospital
One of the survivors of the Migaa bus crash is brought to the Nakuru Level Five Hospital for treatment on December 31, 2017. PHOTO | REITZ MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The Migaa incident caused a heavy gridlock along the deadly stretch with motorists being stranded for hours as police officers led by Mr Arome and Rongai OCPD Japheth Kioko and deputy traffic base commander, Inspector Muniku, coordinated the rescue efforts at the scene.
The bodies were taken to Nakuru County mortuary.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

To understand KCSE results, look at the teachers and how they teach

Prof. George Magoha
Kenya National Examinations Council Chairman Prof. George Magoha oversees a KCSE examination at Sawagongo High School in Siaya on November 13, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
The administration of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) are considered by most Kenyans as being essential in the development of a credible education system.
Such national exams are believed to motivate our children, lift some students to world class standards, help increase the national productivity and contribute to the restoration of our global competitiveness.
Contrary to these beliefs, the examinations are largely based on the simplistic stimulus-response view of learning. The two examinations are essentially evaluating knowledge on the basis of the candidate’s recall of what he/she had previously learnt.
Strictly speaking, assessment measures should be concerned with evaluating a candidate’s abilities across the whole spectrum of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, not just knowledge acquisition but also application, synthesis and creativity.
The trend of KCSE and KCPE results over the last three years has been of interest to those of us in research and statistics due to the perceived drop in performance.
A statistical evaluation of the validity of the 2017 KCSE examination papers in mathematics, biology, chemistry, Kiswahili and CRE for example, reveals startling results that perhaps the critics of the performance should make reference to before making their unsubstantiated criticisms.
All these papers received high statistical indices in both content and construct validity.
They revealed high correlations between the substance of the papers and the expected learning outcomes as per the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development syllabus. 
In other words, the examinations measured what they were supposed to measure. The difference with the 2017 examinations from the previous years was that they challenged students to use the knowledge learnt to apply, synthesise and even postulate on possible happenings in a given context.
The 2016 KCSE papers were replicas of the previous papers, only that the variable of cheating was eliminated. Our teachers ‘teach to the test’ and students routinely go through numerous past paper questions knowing that the examination will have a close semblance to previous papers. This is not learning.
It is mere memorisation, hence the catastrophic results in biology and CRE in 2017 for example. This year’s examinations were based on the high cognitive constructs of Bloom’s taxonomy.
In fact, these results bring to the surface the false pedagogical approaches in the Kenyan classroom and the need for major reforms in learning dynamics in our schools.
I use the performance of the above four subjects and the validity of the test items therein to encourage all of us to embrace research to guide our pronouncements on such weighty matters that confront our education system.
Quite often, validity is sacrificed for reliability and this mistake usually results in measures being only concerned with the behaviour of scores rather than the intellectual value of the results.
Being concerned only with the acceptability of candidates’ scores does not tell us whether such candidates have the capacities to engage constructively with the expectations of the 21st century economy.
 In evaluating KCSE results, the following factors ought to be taken into consideration:
The historical context: Our education system and development does not tally with the practicability of our examination system.
This is especially so for the use of national examinations to certify that an individual has successfully completed a given level of education and/or for making a decision about the individuals’ entrance into a tertiary institution or the job market.
Considering the wide gap between the poor and rich, urban and rural schools, good and bad schools, the acceptability or practicability of a common examination system is certainly questionable.
Equity issues: It is a basic fact that no common education procedures, such as national examinations, can produce truly just measures until policy makers put in place appropriate national delivery standards for social, educational resource and other support systems for all.
What justifications are there, for instance, to give a common examination to candidates in Alliance High School, Kenya High School, Maseno School, and the candidates in Lumino Secondary School in Kakamega County, Masii Secondary school in Machakos County, Viyalo Secondary School in Vihiga County and Siburi Mixed Day Secondary School in Homa Bay County? First, we need an educational playing field that is at least seemingly equitable for all students.
Application of technology: Here, the focus is on the standard and quality of test designers at all educational levels.
Assessment today is seen as a technical art, a complex of standardised means for attaining a predetermined academic end.
Today in Kenya, the quality of personnel involved in test designs cannot be compared with what obtains in the developed world. In the developed world, the standard of assessment procedures is highly specialised in terms of the entire test development processes, the cultural background, the material chosen for inclusion, the language and idioms used and the validation processes.
In Kenya, a large percentage of the test designers are not up to speed with the statistical procedures involved in the educational assessment measures and the advances made with the use of computers.
Screening/ categorisation: The administration of national examinations also faces the challenge of using test results to screen out certain groups by mere categorisation of grades. What is the magical intent of one to have a C+ to join the university? What of adopting subject clusters after one scores a minimum of C- in the examination?
Considering that we have now eliminated cheating and are now testing high order cognitive skills, why can’t we rationalise the admission criteria to universities? 
The challenge here is to inquire whether these groups of people have been justifiably or unjustifiably screened out and furthermore to ask what constitutes a fair and equitable use of test scores in personnel selection, placement and classification.
The philosophical and political implications of this challenge lie more in the values a society accepts as desirable goals for a system of personnel allocation and utilisation. We need to ask, therefore, how much weight the Kenyan society should give to maximising the productivity of her educational system. How much weight should be given to balancing equal opportunities among different ethnic groups to eliminate educational and occupational inequalities?
Psychometric research results may be able to provide some measure of answers, but the cost of forcing numerical equality among groups of unequal access and opportunity for selection and placement decisions through test processes pose a great challenge.
Right of script: In the administration of national examinations, candidates do not know how their tests are being interpreted and how decisions have been arrived at.
In a less than perfect reliability of test scores and human error in handling test results, it is desirable that candidates be given the privilege to see their scripts if they feel strongly unconvinced by the final results communicated to them. This, apart from benefiting the candidate, can improve the reliability of scoring and handling of scores.
It can also improve upon the assessment procedures. Information available from the KCSE 2017 marking exercise indicates that in most of the subjects, many of the candidates submitted blank papers, giving the examiners an easy time in going through them. Wouldn’t it be prudent to avail samples of these papers to the public to demonstrate the decaying civilisation our education system represents and dispel the unfounded assertions that KNEC deliberately failed the students?
We must know that the final results are only the tail-end of a process and that other variables such as infrastructure, teacher capacity, learners who are ready to learn and societal norms come into play. There is, therefore, need for all these factors to be constantly monitored through empirical research and evaluation processes. 
Instead of wholesomely blaming poor performance on unsubstantiated devious occurrences, we should seek solutions to systemic problems related to delivery such as teaching methods, lack of teachers in schools, absenteeism and poor commitment to teach, lack of teaching and learning facilities such as books, laboratory equipment and libraries and poor teachers’ working conditions. We must also address the gross inequalities in school resources and the weak social support system.
Even when all these receive serious attention, it is the teacher — and not the assessment measures — that must be the cornerstone of educational reforms.
Empirical evidence has identified two variables that have led to the current level of performance in national examinations (i) greater vigilance against examination fraud and (ii) increased validity of the test items in the examinations.
Indeed, there has been no attempt to systematically examine the content of examinations as related to the implemented curriculum, with a view to assessing the validity of these examinations.
The key question addressed in this rapid assessment of last year’s KCSE results has been: Do students fail examinations, or is it that the examinations fail students?
A systematic content analysis carried out on selected science, language and social science subject syllabi — and their corresponding examination papers — show a strong relationship between what is covered in the examination papers and the content of the subject syllabi, suggesting that the examinations themselves may not be a cause of students’ poor performance.
Instead, students’ poor performance in the 2017 KCSE national examinations is attributable to the teaching and learning processes among the other variables mentioned earlier.
 Prof. Laban P. Ayiro is the acting Vice-Chancellor of Moi University. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

High Court refers teachers' transfer case to labour court

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Justice David Majanja who has directed that the case seeking to block the massive transfers of high school principals be moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court for disposal. He said the High Court lacks jurisdiction to listen to the case. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
Justice David MajanjaDissatisfied primary and secondary school headteachers who were recently transferred have suffered a setback after the High Court in Kisumu declined to hear a case they had filed seeking to block the move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Justice David Majanja Friday directed that the case seeking to block the massive transfers of high school principals be moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court for disposal.
Last week, the commission transferred a total of 557 headteachers of secondary and primary schools.
In an order dated December 29, Justice Majanja pointed out that the High Court lacks jurisdiction to handle the matter, saying it involves the employer and employees.
"The High Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case by virtue of Article 169 (2) of the Constitution as read with Section 12 of the Employment and Labour Relations Court Act," said Justice Majanja.
He added, "The matter is hereby transferred to the (labour) court for disposal."
TSC and Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i have been sued in the matter.
During the reshuffle, 31 principals of national schools were moved to new institutions while in the extra-county boys schools, 78 teachers have been moved.
Another 78 have been shifted in the girls’ schools of the same category.
Eight principals have been posted to national schools that were operating without substantive heads.
The case has now been referred to Nairobi.
"The file will be taken there," said Justice Majanja.
In the transfer exercise, 134 vacant positions at the county schools have also been filled while 19 heads in technical institutions were moved.

An earlier story had erroneously indicated that the labour court had stopped the massive transfers of headteachers. It has since been established that no such order had been issued. The error is regretted.

Court stops transfer of head teachers

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Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia
Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia at a past event. TSC has been stopped from transferring head teachers countrywide. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
The High Court in Kisumu has stopped the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) from effecting transfers of secondary school teachers across the country.
Justice David Majanja issued the order in a case in which TSC, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i have been sued.
“Leave granted do operate as a stay to the directive to TSC to effect a mass transfer of secondary school principals across the country,” said Justice Majanja.
Last week , the TSC transferred a total of 557 head teachers of secondary and primary schools.
During the reshuffle, 31 principals of national schools were moved to new destinations.
At the extra-county boy schools, 78 teachers have been moved while the same number has been shifted in the girls’ schools of the same category (extra-county).Eight principals have been posted to national schools that were operating without substantive heads.
At the counties, 134 vacant position at the county schools have also been filled in the transfer exercise while 19 heads were moved at the technical institutions.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Kalonzo Musyoka returns after 10 weeks in Germany

Kalonzo Musyoka
Nasa co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
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National Super Alliance (Nasa) co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka is Thursday expected to declare his stand on the swearing-in of opposition leader Raila Odinga in his first public appearance after a 10-week stay in Germany.
Mr Musyoka, who arrived back in the country on Wednesday, is scheduled to visit the family of his closest ally, former Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze, who was buried last week.
Mr Musyoka left the country on October 11 to be with his ailing wife, Pauline, with whom he returned.
Nasa leaders who did not want to be named discussing internal matters said they were excited by his arrival and were looking forward to hearing his position on the best way forward.
His absence from the political scene has sparked debate within and outside the opposition ranks over his dedication to the Nasa cause.
He left just a day after he and Nasa leader Raila Odinga withdrew from the October 26 repeat election.
“Our country is at a pivotal point in history where, once again, we find ourselves in the valley of decision; this time whether to ascend to a new era of true democracy through electoral integrity and legitimacy or descend further into the abyss of electoral malpractice and injustice, by accepting and moving on,” Mr Musyoka said in a Christmas message sent to newsrooms.
Mr Musyoka’s arrival comes at an equally pivotal time for the Nasa coalition, which has been facing intense pressure from within to go on with the swearing-in of Mr Odinga as the peoples’ president — as a form of protest against what opposition supporters believe was a stolen victory on August 8.
The coalition boycotted the October 26 repeat poll after successfully petitioning the August 8 election and has since vowed not to recognise President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying it had won the first poll.
The planned swearing-in ceremony has been postponed twice — first on November 28 when Mr Kenyatta took his oath and then on Jamhuri Day on December 12 — to the disappointment of Nasa supporters.
Mr Musyoka’s first public appearance on Thursday — after he arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport aboard a Qatar Airways flight at 2am — will be watched by many from within and outside the coalition.
Mr Musyoka and his ailing wife Pauline were accompanied by one of their sons Klein and Mr Musyoka’s sister-in-law Jane Muasya.
Other than security aides and drivers, there were no politicians or supporters to receive them at the airport.
A close family source who requested anonymity out of respect for the former Vice-President’s desire to keep his wife’s sickness out of the public limelight, said Mrs Musyoka was in a jovial mood after the eight-hour flight.
“Mama is okay and was discharged from hospital where she has been since October.
"They didn’t want to attract too much public attention and she’s currently resting at home,” the source said.
Mr Musyoka’s absence from the political scene has seen significant developments in the opposition camp, chief among them being the formation of a wing of Nasa dubbed the National Resistance Movement, soon after the October repeat presidential poll.
Mr Odinga has stuck to his guns and this week vowed to go on with the oath in the New Year.
Contrary to reports that the ceremony will be carried out by a retired judge, Mr Odinga said their plan was to have the ceremony presided over by an ordained commissioner of oaths.
Whatever happens after the swearing-in, he argued, will not be Nasa’s fault, as they had opened their arms for dialogue only to be given a contempt card.

Mr Odinga said they are campaigning for electoral justice, police reforms, judicial independence, restructuring and strengthening devolution and the restructuring of the Executive.

Jubilee uses divide and rule strategy to defeat Raila

Raila Odinga
Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses journalists in Kisumu on December 4, 2017. Jubilee Party is against Mr Odinga's plan to swear himself in as president of Kenya. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party has set a March 2018 deadline to isolate Nasa leader Raila Odinga from his co-principals in a two-pronged approach of government appointments and a divide-and-rule approach.
The Jubilee Party is aggressively reaching out to Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka for a proposal to be included in government, with various lieutenants in Mr Odinga’s ODM camp also being targeted.
The ruling party is also working to portray ODM as the bully in the opposition coalition with the aim of convincing the weaker parties to walk out of the coalition.
Mr Mudavadi has said that he has been approached to switch allegiance.
“Some leaders in Jubilee are pleading with me to abandon the reform train,” Mr Mudavadi said in a statement shared by his party on Tuesday.
According to him, the Jubilee leaders were asking him to slow down his support for Mr Odinga.
“(They are saying) that I should calm down; let them get on the gravy train,” Mr Mudavadi said, warning, “They don’t know what steel I am made of.
"This is my New Year message to them; let me assure you I cannot jump off this electoral justice reform train into an empty cattle carriage,” he said.
That Jubilee would want to scuttle the opposition has not been in doubt, with various leaders the Daily Nation spoke to saying they have been reaching out to the ‘good apples’ in Nasa, by which they meant Nasa leaders who are not perceived as diehard party supporters.
National Assembly Public Accounts Committee chair Opiyo Wandayi said that while Nasa may not stop the Jubilee overtures, it will, in the end, emerge stronger.
“What Jubilee is doing, reaching out and trying to buy everyone, is not out of their character.
"What they want is to have a monolithic State, and they think Kenya should not even be a multiparty,” Mr Wandayi, also the Ugunja MP, said.
“But this pro-reform movement is so huge that even if they manage to get a few people, they will be quickly replaced by young, more energetic ones.”
Without disputing the March deadline, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale argued that it is Mr Odinga’s co-principals in the opposition who have that time to decide whether the former Prime Minister will retire from politics.
According to him, Mr Odinga’s retirement package was ready.
“We have no political intention, but his Nasa principals have up to March to decide on his political retirement or if he is running in 2022. That decision is important to them more than it is to Jubilee,” he said on the phone.
He said Jubilee had no agenda for either Raila or Nasa.
“We expect them to keep Jubilee in check as per their mandate. For Raila, the retirement package is in place for him to enjoy as provided for in the Deputy President and other State Officers Retirement Act, 2012.”
A Jubilee member who sought anonymity said the March date is in place and that the decision by diplomats to recognise President Kenyatta’s victory in the October election had played a big part in the plan.
“The idea is to ensure that by March, Nasa has been split and Raila is isolated. There are many ways of achieving the target,” he said.
After the annulment of the August 8 presidential election, Jubilee reached out to Opposition leaning leaders including former Kajiado governor David Nkedianye, Vihiga ANC candidate for governor Yusuf Chanzu, former Taita-Taveta governor John Mruttu and the Wiper candidate in the race for Mombasa governorship Omar Hassan, among others.
The ruling party has now turned to elected leaders with the intention of wooing them to shift allegiance.
In the National Assembly, Jubilee leaders ganged up against other Nasa affiliate party candidates for watchdog committees as part of a tactic to paint ODM as a bully within the Opposition.
The plan appears to have worked, since Mr Mudavadi’s ANC publicly protested after losing the Public Accounts Committee and Public Investments Committee chairmanship to Mr Wandayi and his Mvita counterpart, Mr Abdulswamad Nassir, both from ODM.
Narok South’s Moitalel ole Kenta, also of ODM, was elected chairman of the committee on implementation.
All these led to disquiet within ANC and Wiper.
A constant push-and-pull about whether or not Mr Odinga should be sworn in as the people’s president has further helped Jubilee’s cause.
“This swearing-in by Raila will do nothing but embarrass him and our supporters,” Lugari MP Ayub Savula of ANC said. Mr Odinga’s swearing-in is slated for Eldoret on Sunday.
“I wonder why he is still thinking of things such as taking an oath. Let him do better things, including cleaning his own house where we have very many complaints.”
Although ANC distanced itself from Mr Savula’s sentiments, such talk has been gaining traction.
However, Mr Odinga has stuck to his guns, saying he will push on with the swearing-in.
“We are not talking about tokenism. We have said we are not interested in nusu mkate (euphemism for coalition government),” Mr Odinga told a local television station on Tuesday when asked what kind of dialogue he wanted with Jubilee.
“We have managed to open the server, and it shows that we won by over one million votes,” Mr Odinga said.

“That is what we will use to swear in.”