No mercy in my first 100 days as the headmaster

Unless you are new in Jerusalem, you know this coming week Kenya will have a new President, and you already know that the person who will be sworn in as president is similar to me in many ways. Dr William Samoei Ruto, like me, has been a deputy who was vilified, tormented, frustrated and treated so badly.

Yet, we seem to be overcoming and are poised to replace our unwilling bosses. Dr Ruto is lucky, for he has not served as President-elect for long, and yet he will be sworn in this Tuesday. He is lucky because he could afford tens of lawyers.

I am not so lucky; I cannot afford lawyers and TSC regulations are silent about how long one can be in acting capacity. For your information, I do not even have a letter appointing me as an acting HM. It was just a roadside, verbal appointment by the TSC Sub-county Director of Education, who has since left for another county.

But being Mwalimu Andrew, Esquire, GHC, CRE, MBS, Kisw, Insha, I will not sit back and wait to be confirmed to start thinking about my first 100 days in office as a substantive HM.

I am therefore, like Dr Ruto, coming up with a comprehensive 100 days plan. And I will not wait to be confirmed; the countdown will start on the same day that our presidents will be sworn in.

It is important for everyone in the country to feel that we are under new rule, and all of us must work to support the new president. The best way to support the new president is by starting to transform the places we work and live.

Enemies of development will say that I am doing everything to catch the attention of the President-elect or his handlers, but we all know that I am only doing that for the good of Mwisho wa Lami school. And if my action reaches the President’s office, and if something positive comes out of it (like appointment to the many boards, commissions, taskforces), why not? Am I not a deserving Kenyan?

Anyway, leaving enemies of development aside, it is time to take you through my 100 days plan; a plan that gets inspiration from the transformative Kenya Kwanza manifesto, and a plan that will set the foundation of putting this school and community at large on the path for unprecedented success.

The first thing I will do will be to come up with a five-year strategic plan. It will be the first time two words, “strategy” and “plan”, will be associated with this school. The HM who came before me had never even heard of the two words and was just running the school using TSC circulars.

As part of the strategic plan, I already have in mind what the purpose of the school is, the vision and the mission. I also know the strategic pillars that we will rely on and the expected outcomes including time frames. The last time I shared such information here, many schools copied it. So, I will not go into details.

The second thing I will implement within 100 days will be to reintroduce morning and evening preps. It is unfortunate that Bensouda let it die, with the consequences of this reflected in our KCPE results that are nothing to write home about. Even if we will have to motivate teachers to do it, we will. Although I do not understand why anyone should be motivated to do their job.

Thirdly, I will have to work on the discipline of the teachers, or some of them. You do not need a calculator to know that when put on a measuring scale, many of the teachers here have been found wanting. And this is something that I will not be afraid to deal with, in 100 days. The specific areas to deal with will be time keeping, dressing, cleanliness, language, respect to name but a few.  I believe that if I deal with teacher discipline, student discipline will fall in place.

Then there is the lunch club.

For years, we have battled to have a good staff lunch scheme. We always start but it collapses soon after, usually after a teacher eats others’ food but doesn’t contribute. Perhaps that is because the school administration has never been involved. I will be taking keen interest in this to make it work because I believe that when teachers are full, they are full of wisdom, and when teachers are not hungry, they are not angry!

I will also change the gears of parents’ participation. Like all schools, we are greatly suffering from the acute non-involvement of parents in school matters. Many do not care what happens in school, while others have delegated this salient responsibility. In fact, the last parents’ day meeting was actually a grandparents’ day! I have a plan to turn this round, to ensure that Mwisho wa Lami parents take their responsibilities seriously.

There is also the issue of junior secondary school. I was already working to ensure that our school is approved to be a junior secondary school so as to be CBC-compliant. But since I am not sure if the new government will scrap CBC – which is the right thing to do – I am shelving those plans until I know on which fence the government sits on regarding CBC.

Finally, there is the issue of teacher transfers. Another plan to be implemented within 100 days is to transfer teachers who I consider deadweight.

Then I will get new ones. We have at least three teachers that should not be in this school, and who keep pulling everyone back. I did not have TSC connections in the outgoing regime, but I hope to have them in the new one. To avoid having other HMs reject the dead-weight, I am not going to mention them. But your guess is as good as mine.

I know many people who are wondering why I never implemented any of these as deputy HM or acting HM. The answer is simple, I have never been HM, there was only so much I could do as deputy, or as acting HM. But the new administration is giving me new impetus to get things done, and they will be done.

Let’s meet in 100 days for a status update. Hoping that I will still be here, for it is possible that the government may have noted my talents and appointed me to a different, higher position!