School sponsors have more roles than what they currently do

A section of Friends School Kamusinga. It is a quaker-sponsored school located in Bungoma County.

Public schools sponsors have a great influence in the management of institutions in Kenya. The Education Act 2013 expressively gives the sponsor the responsibility of overall management of public schools they sponsor.

The major role of the sponsor as enshrined in the act is participation in the management of the students discipline, character formation and inculcation of moral values towards the achievement of National goals of education. Morality is a by product of well moulded character which each every conscious stakeholder should always hinge on.

The overall character formed in a learning institution directly informs its tradition and the type of products to be achieved in a learning cycle. Institutional sponsors in a bid to achieve and actualize its constitutional mandate should go beyond the normal in order to be felt and be appreciated more.

A cursory glance at most of our comprehensive and a number of secondary schools leaves more to be expected. It is not strange at all to be told how it has taken long for the sponsor or its agent to visit the school.

On many instances, they only visit when ‘big’ visitors are around or when there is a general meeting. In such a scenario, the sponsor is not felt enough to warrant appreciation from the school community.

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Character formation which is a by product of proper inculcation of morals does not require an absentee agent or actioner. In the process of stamping its authority as contained in the act, I feel that the sponsor should go out of his/her ways to come up with strategies that motivates the learners, teachers, non-teaching staff and the general community.

A visit to one school sponsored by one of the mainstream churches in Nandi County gave me indication that the sponsor was upto to its tasks. The church had set a day where its congregation comes to school and cleans the compound. They also weed the flowers, served tea break (They had organised for tea and bread for teachers, learners and the subordinate staff). Before they left, they had a counseling session from the school chaplain. It was indeed a rare show.

Sponsors in the same vein can go ahead and ‘sponsor’ projects like building of school gates, assisting the vulnerable learners pay their fees or acquire basic needs. They can as well sponsor teachers’ meals.

All these give them enough clout to be felt and appreciated in the institutions they sponsor. This, will, in my view produce a ripple effect on character formation of students under their jurisdictions. Gone are those days when institutional sponsors curtailed activities simply because they were not consulted. They should be there when consultations are made.

Joseph kiptoo is an Educationist from Sirwa, Nandi County.

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