Education officials who did not deliver desks face sack

Monday, January 11th, 2021 09:00 |
Youths contracted to make the new-look desks for a school in Nyandarua County. Photo/PD/File

Dozens of Sub-County Directors of Education (SDEs) now risk losing their jobs for allegedly failing to ensure delivery of desks and chairs to government sponsored schools within the specified time frame.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and his Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang had last week directed all County Directors of Education (CDEs) to ensure some 622,000 desks, lockers and chairs are made and delivered to schools by yesterday.

Reports indicate several schools are yet to receive desks and chairs and CDEs and SCDEs were directed to ensure full delivery by close of yesterday.

Consequently, the CDEs wrote to all SCDEs threatening them with disciplinary action for those who would not have met the deadline by last evening.

“By copy of this year, you are hereby reminded that disciplinary action would be taken against you individually for failure to adhere to the directive by the Cabinet Secretary for Education.

You are, therefore reminded that the deadline to ensure that all desks, chairs and lockers are ready and delivered to schools remains Sunday, January 10, 2020,” a letter from one of the CDEs to his SCDEs reads in part.

Locally assembled

The SCDEs are instead blaming the government for having given low quotations for the desks and as such failed to attract many artisans.

According to CDEs and SCDEs, the government is paying Sh2,500 for each desk and Sh3,500 for a chair and locker, which are way below the market prices.

“Only a few artisans have volunteered to make the desks because of the low quotation. Most artisans have turned down the offer because it would be a loss to them, “one SCDE told People Daily.

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.

Desks were to be produced under ESP, which was meant to cushion local artisans from adverse effects of Covid-19.

Qualifying artisans were thus to be given 50 per cent upfront and balance upon delivery.

But this arrangement did not materialise after the government changed goal posts and insisted on paying the artisans full amount upon delivery of the desks.

Contract procedures started at the sub-county level. First, a committee was formed comprising the sub-county education office, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Director, DCI officials and chaired by Deputy County Commissioners.

Team conducted a comprehensive inspection of schools that are in dire need for desks’ support in every ward.

Similarly, the committee inspected workshops, shortlisted and pre-qualified those with the capacity to do the work.

Afterwards, the qualifying artisans were issued with letters of award to do the work.

The sub-county education officials are also accusing the Education ministry of doing little to facilitate them in their work.

The officials claim they have been using their own money to travel while looking for artisans as well as printing out contract details.

This morning, all Principal Secretaries have been detailed to visit learning institutions across the 47 counties to assess their preparedness, with emphasis being on desks and chairs.

A media invite released by the Ministry of Education last Friday indicated that each of the 14 PSs has been assigned to cover three counties.

Another team

“Teams of Principal Secretaries are scheduled to visit learning institutions in all the 47 counties to assess the status of the institutions and the conditions under which the learners and teachers are operating. This is in relation to the full reopening of schools,” the invite stated.

All the Principal Secretaries have been directed to visit at least 10 schools a day, with firm instructions to give reports on the status of the schools.

Another team of CSs led by Magoha, Fed Matiang’í (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure), Amina Mohamed (Sports), Keriako Tobiko (Environment), Adan Mohamed (East African Community) and Najib Balala (Tourism) have also been detailed to make similar visits.

Top government officials are expected to conduct schools’ appraisals, propose immediate solutions to noted challenges and report cases that require long-term interventions.

Sources also disclosed that measures of mopping up absentee learners to return to schools would be instituted based on the school-based findings by the PSs.

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