School heads to face Magoha over textbooks procurement
Tough questions await Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha as he opens primary school heads annual conference in Mombasa today.
Head teachers are keen to know how the ministry arrived at plans to decentralise procurement of textbooks to schools without consultation and want the CS to revert the governments plan and allow teachers to procure the learning materials for their schools.
Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) chairman Nicholas Gathemia said teachers had not been consulted on the right learning materials for learners even as the government plans to distribute the materials to schools before January.
Backed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion, he termed the move “unacceptable”, saying the ministry should drop the idea and let teachers continue purchasing books as has been the case.
Magoha is set to officially open the delegate’s conference, with over 7,500 delegates in attendance. Some of the teachers attending the conference accused Ministry of Education of bulldozing policies which would derail delivery of quality education.
Sossion said the move was informed by cartels out to swindle monies during the distribution of books. He said the union will soon expose individuals it believes are behind the teething process that has caused discomfort.
“It was totally wrong to decentralise the procurement and supply of books. This is a plan to steal public money. We know those who are behind it and we shall expose them,” he said.
The teachers’ union also renewed calls for the suspension of the National Education Management Information System (Nemis), which Education ministry uses to allocate funds to schools.
“Nemis should be suspended because it is discriminating, it is not working, until when we prove it is working,” Sossion said, adding that Nemis is creating more confusion than order.
William Ogenda,Ogilo Primary School head teacher argued that an identification error code is denying capitation funds to deserving students and called on the government to suspend the system.
“The system has been a source of headache to us and parents as there are some areas where it cannot be accessed. It is our appeal to the ministry to suspend it until it is proven to be working and we fully support the calls by Knut to have it suspended,” he said.
Sossion, while addressing the teachers conference yesterday, also said all capitation monies should be wired to the schools account so principals could manage the funds, adding that teachers bear the brunt of inconsistence capitation flows.
“Let the entire capitation be wired to schools accounts and allow teacher to manage it. Head teachers are managers, therefore, they should be allowed to procure materials for their schools,” he added.
On implementation of the new curriculum, the Knut boss said the government has failed to hire more teachers to beat the child-teacher deficit haunting the country, adding that for the Competency- Based Curriculum to succeed, every teacher should teach about 28 pupils.