Counties go for new-look desks in a frenzy dash

Friday, September 18th, 2020 14:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the Sh1.9 billion school furniture project in Umoja, Nairobi County, yesterday. Photo/PSCU

 Counties were yesterday in a mad rush to procure locally assembled desks ahead of planned reopening of schools expected any time next month. 

The procurement of new-look desks for both primary and secondary schools has been devolved with respective county commissioners and education officers overseeing the exercise in their various jurisdictions.

This came as the government issued directives on the pricing and supply of desks to avoid corruption in the procurement exercise across the country.

The government has set aside Sh1.9 billion under the Economic Stimulus Programme for the supply of the locally assembled furniture to public primary and secondary schools countrywide.

Juakali workshops interested in the business have up to today to return duly filled tender forms.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said 622,257 desks will be delivered to some 5,254 secondary and 5,136 primary schools respectively.

At a cost Sh900 million, primary schools will receive 360,000 desks while secondary schools will receive 263,157 lockers and chairs at Sh1 billion.

The desks will replace traditional setting in primary schools where four to five pupils squeeze into a single bench.  

“Following an extensive market survey, the cost per desk has been fixed at Sh2,500 for primary and Sh3,800 for secondary for a locker and chair,” said the President in a statement. 

Each identified primary school will receive 70 desks while their high school counterparts will receive 50 lockers and chairs.

“I have directed Interior and Education ministries to work together in identification of local ‘juakali’ workshops in each sub-county across the country.

 In so doing, they will adopt a model similar to the one deployed in the Kazi Mtaani Initiative to identify and pay qualifying workshops,” President Uhuru said when he inspected a workshop in Nairobi.

Beyond the sub-county, identification process will ensure that school distribution begins at the ward level and take enrolment into account.

Rolls out

President Uhuru has called on Members of Parliament, through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations on education, county governments and the private sector to work with the national government in supporting and augmenting expansion of school infrastructure.

Elsewhere, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said the programme is a unique opportunity for marginalised groups to do business with the government and get a chance to uplift them economically.

Kitiyo said about 79 primary schools in will get 5,530 desks adding that 15 primary and secondary schools from each sub-county will get 30 desks in both

In Turkana,  County Commissioner Muthama Wambua primary schools will receive 7,140 desks while secondary ones will get 3,100.  

Each sub-county is allocated desks for a minimum of 15 primary and 15 secondary schools.

Wambua spoke when he commissioned the county committee and seven sub-county committees that will be responsible for identifying beneficiary artisans to be awarded the tenders.

County Director of Education Peter Magiri said all secondary schools in Turkana will benefit because all sub-counties have less than 15 secondary schools.

“In Kwale, schools are expected to receive 9,050 new desks, lockers, and chairs.

County Director of Education Jane Njogu said the region has received seven prototype lockers and desks, which will be placed at the sub-county commissioners and directors of education offices.

Application forms

“County committees will map all the juakali workshops within the sub-counties and those owned by youth, women, and people living with disabilities will be given priority as a way of empowering them,” said Njogu who was speaking at Kwale High School.

Siaya County Commissioner Michael ole Tialal on the other hand  said the government will spend Sh37 million to supply 204 schools with desks and chairs.

Of the amount, Sh15.7 million will purchase 6,300 desks and chairs for 90 primary schools while Sh21.6 will furnish 114 secondary schools.

“The programme will relieve parents who have, in the past, been forced to dig into their pockets to provide desks and chairs for their children,” he said.

Tialal assured fairness in identification of both workshops to make the desks and schools to benefit, in line with the criteria provided by government.

Tharaka Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora said the government has established implementation committees to put in place compliance measures to enable schools re-open in conducive environments.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected education among other sectors y. As a result, the government has established the county implementation committee to oversee the provision of desks to needy schools in preparation of reopening,” said Opwora who was speaking at Chuka Girls High School. 

“Application forms are available through the chiefs and their assistants, but once duly completed, they should be handed over to the Deputy County Commissioners and the beneficiaries are the youth with skills who have organised themselves into groups,” she elaborated.

Opwora said those who win the tenders will be paid 50 per cent as down payment to enable them meet the quality expected.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, small-scale enterprises will earn Sh24.4 million for the supply of 7,920 desks.

County Commissioner Dr Ahmed Omar called on SMEs to pick registration forms from their respective sub-county Deputy County Commissioner’s and education offices.

 To qualify, Omar said the SME must be registered, have a bank account and a Kenya Revenue Authority pin number, adding that sub-county committees will vet suppliers.

“We are aware that there may be groups which may not have the capacity to supply the desks due to cash flow problems.

For such, we will consider advancing some money so that they are not left out,” Dr Omar said.

Laikipia County Commissioner Daniel Nyameti said schools are  expected to receive 9,150 desks.           

“Implementation of economic stimulus programme is a clear sign that government is working hard to ensure the schools re-opens immediately after the flattening of Covid-19 cases in our country,” said Nyameti, who spoke from Nanyuki.

Primary schools will receive 5,250 desks while secondary schools will get 3,950. Reporting by Irene Githinji, Harrison Kivisu and KNA

More on News