CS says ministry will continue to buy, distribute textbooks

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 00:00 |
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha addresses primary school heads in Mombasa, yesterday. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

Primary school head teachers suffered a blow yesterday when Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha maintained that he will not rescind the decision to centralise the procurement and distribution of textbooks in public schools.

Magoha said the ministry will continue to buy and distribute books to schools.

On Monday, the head teachers, through the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), had demanded reversal of the procurement of textbooks role back to them.

However, the CS yesterday said the decision will help curb corruption and misappropriation of funds.

The ministry took over the task of purchasing and distributing textbooks from schools after it emerged that some head teachers were stealing the funds while others were putting the money into other uses.

Crying foul

“Textbooks shall continue to be purchased by the government of Kenya and we are going to ensure that we do that. Those saying they want to buy books let them forget that,” said Magoha on the sidelines of the 15th Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (Kepsha) annual conference.

Magoha assured that by next week, all books for Grade Four learners will be in schools. He said he will conduct visits to various public schools during the December holiday to ensure all the schools have received the learning materials before the beginning of the first term to avoid inconveniences.

“We are going to conduct random checks to find out if all the books are in schools by December 9. So if I come to your schools when you are on Christmas don’t panic, it is part of my job,” he told the school heads yesterday.

The CS maintained that he is not ready for any talks regarding the textbooks policy despite Knut calls for dialogue with the ministry on the same. He said the government is keen to implement the one-pupil- one-textbook ratio. 

Magoha assured the teachers that the ministry has put in place all measures to ensure a successful rollout of Grade Four in January and urged all the Kepsha members to support the implementation of the competency-based curriculum (CBC). 

On secondary schools selection, the CS said all top KCPE candidates had been placed at secondary school of their first choice.

He said the selection process was thorough and all the student choices were put into consideration.

“They were placed in their first choices and the schools they are crying foul about were not number one choice; you can go and cross check our data, it’s available,” said Magoha.

 He added that the ministry will ensure beginning January, the 100 per cent transition policy is achieved. 

“I am asking you to develop a tracking system within your individual schools to ensure that you work with chiefs and other education and TSC field officers to account for all your 2019 candidates,” he said.

“We will expect daily reports from yourselves showing the progress of Form One admission of all candidates who sat KCPE exams at your institutions,” he told the teachers.

Terminate programme

At the same time, Magoha has dismissed Knut’s calls for the termination of the delocalisation programme and use of the National Education Management Information System (Nemis), saying teachers have no problem with the policies.

Magoha said Knut is not sincere with its  calls for truce and dialogue on issues affecting teachers and management of schools in the country.

“Going from what you heard them say here on Monday do you think they are committed to the truce? They are not,” he said.

While addressing primary school heads on Monday, Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion asked the ministry to stop implementation of Nemis, teachers transfers and to decentralise text book procurement to schools.

Meanwhile, the government says it has allocated Sh40 billion to the capitation grant for free public primary and secondary school education for the first term beginning January.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang made the announcement yesterday, saying Sh13.4 billion will go to funding primary schools and will be released before the opening of first term. 

“We shall not disadvantage any child, we already have the data of the children who were not captured in Nemis,” he added.

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