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Why Starehe sent head home

Starehe Boys Centre has sent its Principal Paul Mugo packing following a string of poor results in examinations blamed on a skewed student admission system and alleged high-handedness.

Mr Mugo was sent on a one-month forced leave after students and a section of teachers staged a go slow in the prestigious boys school on Wednesday morning demanding his removal.

Teachers accused the principal of being behind a cartel that admitted students who did not score the minimum grades for admission.

Poor results

In one case, the school is said to have admitted ten students from one primary school, raising suspicions that merit could have been compromised.

The move could have behind the poor results the school posted during the 2012 and 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. The school’s management committee also sent the Accounts Officer and the Executive Assistant to the director on leave.

Meanwhile, Deputy Principal Peter Ndungu will be in charge of the school as the search for a new head starts. The announcement was made by the school’s executive director Matthew Kithyaka at a press briefing held at the school on Wednesday.

“The schools management committee decided to send the principal on a one-month leave,” Kithyaka said.

The director, however, refused to divulge the reasons why the principal and the two administrators were sent home. Last week, Mr Mugo had blamed the 2012/2013 teachers’ strikes for the school’s poor performance. He argued that the two strikes interfered with the momentum of the then Form Three and Form Four students.

A teacher at the school, however, said the principal was suspended owing mainly to the poor results.

“We had people from PriceWaterhouse in the school for the last three weeks and we think the principal’s leave could be linked to their findings,” the teacher said.

Admission letters

Lately, the institution has been faced with accusations of selling admission letters, ignoring the merit-based criterion on which it strictly stuck before — a claim the teacher concurred with.

Mr Kithyaka, however, denied the claims, saying the school still upheld  its values and gave the first priority to needy but bright students.

“Those are just speculations. We do not have any admissions issues,” Kithyaka says.

However, the Teachers Service Commission sent a communication yesterday saying the suspension was null and void as the committee did not have powers to suspend a teacher, let alone a principal. We could not get response from the school by the time we went to press.