Ethical dilemmas are almost a daily occurrence as leaders strive to make complex decisions in the best interest of their followers (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2014). They often spark a heated debate. Leaders make the real difference hence an understanding for ethics and ethical dilemmas are vital for them. Being a leader, a person is expected to make sound decisions on ethical consequences of the actions taken. It is therefore paramount to discover and analyze what values are at stake and make a sound decision. This paper seeks to explore leaders and ethical dilemmas. A case is cited in the education field.
Leaders and Ethical Dilemmas
A leader is a person who influences other people towards the achievement of a given goal. A leader knows the way, leads the way and walks the way. He has a group of people whose trust he has won and he shows them the way. He has a vision, the drive and commitment as well as the skills to achieve that vision (Quatro & Sims, 2008).
An ethical dilemma refers to a situation where a person finds it hard to decide on moral basis. It refers to situations that challenge our abilities to determine the right thing to do. Ethical dilemmas assume that the person will abide by societal norms to make the choice ethically. Ethical dilemmas confront leaders as they endeavor to choose options among competing sets of beliefs, values and principles (Ledlow & Coppola, 2011). It is decision that requires choice among competing principles in a complex context. One is expected to decide what is wrong or right, legal or illegal. There is no universe guideline for solving ethical dilemmas.
Professor Jacob Kaimenyi and Form One Selection
The Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Education, Professor Jacob Kaimenyi, was born in 10-07-1952 in Nairobi Kenya. The 62 year old father of five was selected to head the Ministry of Education in 2013 before which he was a vice chancellor, academic affairs at the University of Nairobi. He holds a PHD in Dentistry from the University of Nairobi. In Periodontology, he is the first inaugurated full professor at the University of Nairobi. He is a member of Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board as well as a Trustee of Regina PacisUniversity College. He banned tuition in schools and defined a new fee structure for all public day and boarding schools.
Recently, different opinions have been raised in regard to form one selection for the students who sat for KCPE in 2014. Many parents have shown dissatisfaction as their children had high marks yet were not admitted to National Schools. A lot of doubt is raised on the efficiency of the electronic devices used in the selection. More shockingly, more than 190,000 pupils who sat for that exam had to miss form one places as announced by the Education Principal Secretary. Students from private school were the most dissatisfied.
It appears that the trust of parents and their children, who scored highly, yet missed admission, on the Minister diminished. The hope of the hopeless has fallen on a deaf year (Branch, 2011). Professor Kaimenyi in defense said the National School quota is automatically determined. This depends on the candidates own selected choices. He said schools are selected on a 40%:40%:20% basis. This means 40% of admitted student are selected nationally, 40% entails students from the county district and 29 are students from home district of the school.
The candidate’s hard work has been betrayed as they have lost chances to join their dream schools. The parent’s efforts of using many resources in order for their children to scale up the ladder of education have erupted. This is because some parents prefer taking their children to private schools since they have records of high performance. Private school head teachers are very disappointed and threaten to change their schools to learning centers. Students will only learn from there and sit for exams from public schools. Private school owner’s desire is to have their candidates pass and join good secondary schools. Professor Kaimenyi is unmoved and he says the selection was free and fair. Being the Cabinet Secretary for Education, he is mandated to oversee form 1 selection. He is not sorry to either private schools, parents or the candidates. All the individuals involved are Kenyan citizens. They pledge allegiance to the same nation.
Kenya is a country located in East Africa and it covers 582,650 kilometer squares (Hornsby, 2012). It borders Indian Ocean to the east and Nairobi is the capital city. The country has 47 counties, 284 districts and a population of approximately 44 million.
History of Education in Kenya
Historical records show that Kenyans had access to education since1728. Kenya began a campaign for free primary education since 1963 after independence (Mwakikagile, 2007). Transformation in the education sector has occurred greatly since the. Currently the country adapts 8.4.4 system of education. A person studies for 8 years in primary, 4 years in secondary and 4 years in tertiary education. There are both private and public schools. Last year (2014), more than 880,000 candidates sat the KCPE exam in 24,278 centers across the country.
In Kenya, once a candidate sits for KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education), he is expected to join form 1, be it National, County or District day school. This depends on his performance and the choice captured during the year he sat for KCPE. Expectation of every top performer is to join a National School since they have a history of top performance.
The newly revised rules on Form one selection have lead to disputes. The government wants only a fifth of the slots in National Schools to be allocated to students who sat for KCPE from private schools. Private School Owners Association feels this share is a peanut. This step is compared to punishing students for performing well in a private school. The new rules grants about 80% admission ratios in favor of public schools while denying this chance to candidates from private schools. The government is accused of trying to advance equity without allocating the slots fairly.
Under the new rules, the top two boys and girls in each district would qualify for a National school slot by merit. Parents want the merit class increased to top five boys and girls while private schools want 70% of these positions to be on merit.
Kenya upholds values like patriotism, national unity, human dignity, equity and social justice. Good governance, integrity, transparency, accountability and sustainable development. In a country where equity and justice are highly upheld, the ethics of Professor Kaimenyi are questionable.
The essence of this paper was to try and make some contribution to the ethical decision making. Democracy should be encouraged and practiced in all sectors of the country (Murunga & Nasong’o, 2007). It is a pity to the candidates who performed and were denied chances to join National Schools. It is true that expectations not met leave a depressed heart. What a demoralizing thing that we water down what a candidate has done for the past 8 years? It is unfair that parents, who gave their resources only to ensure good performance of their children, don’t receive a reward worthwhile. It is quite bad that an education policy becomes a hindrance to realizing the candidate’s dreams. I appeal to Professor Kaimenyi to revise the form 1 selection policies. This will ensure that equity is real in our education sector. However, the private schools should not relent in their work; they should give the very best to the students (Maxcy, 2002).
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