State warns over desks theft by head teachers
Emmanuel Masinde and Irene Githinji
The government has vowed to take stern action against unscrupulous education officers and head teachers colluding to steal locally assembled desks meant for public schools.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), George Magoha expressed concern over reports that some head teachers were splitting the desks and diverting them elsewhere for selfish interests.
“I want to warn some of the head teachers in public and in broad daylight that every desk should be channeled to public schools appointed to receive the desk.
Anyone who will be found diverting desks meant for public schools to other places will face the full force of the law,” Prof Magoha, who spoke from Langas Primary School in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County, warned.
He named Migori as one of the areas that teachers have attempted to divert the desks but issued a stern warning to those who attempt to dupe children of their well-deserved learning infrastructure.
“For those teachers in Migori who together with officers stole desks, I am giving them 24 hours to reverse what they want to do and ensure that the desks go to the appropriate school, otherwise they will be arrested,” the CS Education uttered.
Two weeks ago, the CS who inspected desks at Dr Muthiora Primary decried the shoddy works delivered to that school and warned any other jua kali artisans against compromising the project.
“The government is not going to allow this, we will ensure that the desks are made with expected standards for our children, that they have been delivered and are being used,” said the CS.
Magoha insisted that government will only pay artisans once they have delivered desks with right specification, which is to be made directly through M-PESA.
Education Principal Secretary (PS)Belio Kipsang has called for verification of all personal details for artisans or workshops that have done the work, satisfactorily.
“The ministry has been implementing the Economic Stimulus programme in all sub-counties and it is observed that there are artisans who have delivered the desks to schools,” said Kipsang, in a circular to County Directors of Education (CDE) and Sub-County Directors of Education (SCDE).
Since payment is to be made directly to the contracted artisans d, Kipsang urged SCDE to verify all details submitted to director of primary and secondary education respectively and an Interior Ministry official.
The PS said before payments are made, certified copies of seven documents must be in place.
The documents are minutes and reports of registration or prequalification of artisans, minutes and reports on selection of beneficiary schools, evaluation reports of award to artisans and copy of professional opinion signed by SCDE.
Also required is a list of contracted artisans who have delivered the desks, filed using excel format, inspection and acceptance report, goods received note from schools and invoice from artisan of delivered desks is also required.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Sh1.9 billion locally assembled school desks project on September 17.
The government has sponsored to produce 622,257 desks for schools, in tenders awarded to local jua kali artisans.
Magoha said over half of the desks have already been supplied with the remaining expected in all schools by end of this week.
He also accused education field officers for sleeping on their job saying that stern actions will be taken against them.
“I have also noticed that my field officers only follow me when I come to inspect the school, we are going to act very swiftly that everybody, no matter who you are, as long as you are being paid by the governmentt, need to move around inspecting the school. Anyone sleeping on the job will be shown the door,” he said.
He, however, urged principals and Boards of Management to ensure that their schools comply with the Covid-19 protocols to prevent learners and all staff from being infected by the virus.
“Covid is here to stay, let us ensure we follow the directives by the Ministry of Health such as washing our hands before and after every activity, observe the one-metre social distancing rule and ensure that students put on their facemasks at all time,” said Magoha.
The desk project is part of complementing the strained infrastructure in public schools and to ease congestion to a certain degree.
Already, the President has urged MPs to support schools through the national government and Constituency Development Fund boards, toward augmenting existing interventions geared towards reopening.
This, he said, is to foster government’s preparedness towards the reopening of all other classes in all learning institutions in January.
“I urge MPs to make investments that focus on additional hand washing points, face masks, general sanitation and physical distancing of students and teachers,” the President said.
Other than Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4, the rest of the learners are to resume learning in January.
Magoha has indicated that he will call an education stakeholders meeting to work out a new timetable for schools.
“Now that the government has pronounced itself on reopening for the rest of the learners, I want to urge teachers and stakeholders and Boards of Management to continue to prepare schools to reopen around January 3, a new timetable will be worked on and we will overcome this,” the CS said.
The CS said school timetable will have be reworked to ensure that learners do not lose another academic year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.