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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 26 October 2014

PARENTS SMELL RAT AS HEAD, BOG CHAIR OVERSTAY IN SCHOOL

Parents of Igunga Friends School in Sabatia subcounty, Vihiga have accused the principal Rachel Amukhale of academically and financially running down the institution during her long nine-year tenure at the facility.
The parents who requested not to be named for fear of victimisation of their daughters lambasted Amukhale for her alleged high-handedness, arrogance and running of the school established in 1974 as her personal property and demanded her immediate transfer. They threatened to take unspecified action if she is not removed, saying that she has been bragging of being indispensable because she is well connected. 
They said due to her dictatorial management style, 31 teachers employed by the Teachers Service Commission have either been hounded out or sought transfers elsewhere under her watch.
Four teachers handling Form Four students were transferred from the school last month as they prepared candidates for the ongoing KCSE. They were the only Agriculture, Christian Religious Education, Geography and Kiswahili teachers in the school and have not been replaced.
Last year, the school boarding mistress Belinda Kakai, a TSC employee was evicted from her staff quarters to give room for a teacher employed by the school board of governors who is still pursuing her undergraduate degree course at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Teachers employed by the BOG now outnumber those on TSC payroll. Currently, the school has about 10 TSC teachers while 16 are under BOG with each earning  Sh16,000 per month, translating to Sh3.1 million annually which is unnecessary financial burden to parents.
Members of non-teaching staff have also felt the brunt of the principal with six secretaries and 10 security guards having been sacked. She accused the sacked secretaries of leaking information to villagers.
The parents questioned why the chairman of the parents teachers association Elijah Onzere has been holding the position for the last 10 years yet his daughter left the institution in 2008.  They claimed Onzere has been colluding with Amukhale in corrupt deals in which the school has been losing millions of shillings and demanded that auditors be sent to the institution to peruse the financial records.
Before Amukhale joined the school in 2006, the mean score was standing at 6.2 but the performance has been going down since then with the school registering a mean score of 3.9 in last year’s KCSE with nine candidates not graded.
Following the prevailing situation, the school has been experiencing a mass exodus of students to other schools and is currently having about 350 students. Comparatively, the annual enrolment stands at around 100 students but only 70 students end up sitting for KCSE at the school after four years.
Parents accused the principal of flouting tendering procedures and inflating prices of goods purchased by the school. They claimed that in 2009, she purchased a 22 KVA rating manually operated generator with a motor manufactured in India at a purported cost of Sh 1.3 million instead of the then market value of Sh750,000. In May, she purchased a single phase compliant water pump for Sh250,000 when this is a price is for a three phase water pump.
The parents have appealed to area MP Alfred Agoi who was a pupil at the nearby Igunga Primary School to intervene and save the situation. While at the same time commending the MP for spearheading the  establishment of a university at Vokoli, they feared that since Igunga Girls is collapsing, their daughters have almost zero chances of joining the soon to be launched university.