Kenyan Catholic Schools Managers Urged to Embrace Objectivity, “wise leadership”

Mr. Wycliffe Wasike presenting at the Catholic Private Education Institutions Association' (CaPEIA) conference on Tuesday, 25 April 2023. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Managers of Catholic private schools in Kenya have been urged to approach contemporary challenges in their institutions of learning by employing objectivity and “wise leadership”.

In his presentation on the first day of the Catholic Private Education Institutions Association (CaPEIA) conference, the Deputy Director of Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI), Wycliffe Wasike, said school managers also need to be guided by “vision and commitment”.

“The challenges of modern schools require the objective perspective of the manager as well as the flashes of vision and commitment that come with wise leadership,” Mr. Wasike said Tuesday, April 25 at the start of the three-day event taking place at the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

He highlighted aspects that make “an effective leader and manager in the rapidly changing 21st-century organization”, including individual’s personality, leadership style, passion, and value system.

“If you have a passion for what you are doing, if you value what you are doing, then we are talking about a great Institution,” the Deputy Director of KEMI said at the conference that had the Chairman of the Commission for Education and Religious Education (CERE) of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Bishop Paul Njiru Kariuki, in attendance.


Mr. Wasike whose presentation was titled “Effective School Leadership and Management, a tool for Discipline and Excellent Performance” underlined the need for good leadership in schools and challenged Catholic schools’ delegates at the conference to strive for good leadership skills.

School managers need to strive towards becoming good leaders, he said, adding that good leadership demands sacrifice and hard work.

The Kenyan education official also challenged the leadership of Catholic private schools to utilize their insights and experiences “to balance the conflicting demands of the short and long-term results.”

He went on to underscore the need for altruism in leadership, saying, “Leadership is all about growing others; it is about your team; it is about the welfare of the other people that you are leading. It is about your direct reports and their performance.”

“Effective leadership begins with the fundamental belief, ability to believe in oneself,” KEMI Deputy Director said, and added, “You must believe in yourself; you should be able to lead yourself.”

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He also challenged those at the helm of Catholic private schools to have a clarity of vision, which the education official said will propel their confidence to embrace the role of instilling motivation, self-esteem, and teamwork in learners.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, effective leaders are visionary; they are disciplined thinkers and they have confidence in steering performance; it is not just position,” Mr. Wasike said, adding that “effective leadership improves self-productivity and institutional performance.”

As one way of realizing performance in institutions of learning, “school leaders must invest time and resources in building a solid foundation for performance improvement,” he said, adding that the foundation lies in “setting goals that are specific and measurable.”

In his April 25 presentation, Mr. Wasike acknowledged with appreciation the contribution of the Catholic Church in Kenya’s education section, and highlighted the fostering of “morals and disciplines”.

He said, “I want to really appreciate the sacrifice the Catholic church has given to this country in the form of education. The Catholic schools or Catholic-sponsored schools in this country are known for their morals and discipline.”


The Kenyan professional teacher of 17 years also lauded the Catholic-sponsored schools for promoting the sharing performance secrets among themselves, a practice he said was lacking in public schools.

“I am happy that we are talking about Catholic private schools; we can learn from one another. I am sure this is not like the public schools which hardly share what they have,” said the Kenyan professional teacher who holds a doctorate in environmental communication.

He cautioned against selfishness that he said was prominent in public schools where, he continued, there is unhealthy competition as each school concentrates on guarding its territory in order to “be number one”.

“We want to be number one all of us and if we have to be number one all of us, we must walk together, we must learn from one another, we must learn to share our data,” Mr. Wasike said.

He also highlighted the value of cultural diversity among learners, staff members in schools and the surrounding community and challenged the school administrators to foster partnership and unity in diversity.

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“We are not the same; we must respect our diversity; we must respect our differences because our diversity put together becomes our strength as a community,” he said.

“School partnerships harmonize community programs and resources in the school setting,” the Kenyan education official said, adding, “The school does not exist in a vacuum; it does not exist in the air; the school exists in a context, it exists in a community.”

He continued, “As school leaders, we must be able to look at the school setting, capacity and address the needs of the school beyond the classroom. We should not just be mirrored or minored or focused on what is happening in a classroom environment.”

“As school leaders, it is important to bring on board the entire community of the school so that they can be able to create the atmosphere needed and create the change that we need in that school,” Mr. Wasike said on April 25.

He went on to urge the leadership in learning institutions to “impress positive culture in our schools because this is where values are made; this is where a character is formed.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.