By Sandra Birungi
There is growing concern over teachers who are repeatedly skipping class to attend funerals.
In the counties of Kisii and Nyamira in Kenya each week, students are left unattended to as teachers make their way for burials, a habit that has begun worrying education officials.
Friday has become the official day for burials and normal school programs are often disrupted as teachers, and sometimes pupils, join the community in mourning their loved ones and on occasion, long distance relatives. Attending burials is part of the schools’ social responsibility since playgrounds are used for burial ceremonies from Thursday to Friday, when bigger fields are unavailable.
Schools are often required to donate chairs and desks to bereaved families in the village and if denied help, the head teacher would be mocked and alienated from the community. “Class attendance by teachers on Thursday and Friday is worryingly poor,” says Nyamira County Director of Quality Assurance and Standards Thaddeus Awour.
On Thursdays, teachers reportedly join the bereaved families to escort bodies from morgues ahead of burial on Friday. “The quality of education is adversely affected by this tendency. We have been information that teachers never attend classes on those two days of the week. We will not allow the trend to continue,” said Awour.