September 20th 2017

Society / Education

Ministry wants counties deprived of power over education boards

The minister handed over 83 tablets at the school. He said that 77,000 teachers had so far been inducted through the program and the ministry targets to induct 124,000 teachers by the end of the year.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 07 Oct 2016 11:41 EAT

In a drastic new move that is expected to stoke new misunderstanding between the two levels of government, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said the management of County Education Boards should be returned to the national government.

The minister said that county commissioners, who coordinate national government functions in the counties, should manage the boards that oversee educational functions in the regions. County governments are currently in charge of County Education Boards, which have representation from national agencies.

Speaking at Isooni Primary School in Kathaini Sub County on Tuesday, when he handed over school laptops to class one pupils, Matiang’i said it was a "big mistake" to deprive county commissioners of the mandate over education boards.

The minister handed over 83 tablets at the school. He said that 77,000 teachers had so far been inducted through the program and the ministry targets to induct 124,000 teachers by the end of the year.

The minister claimed that education standards in the counties had deteriorated since county commissioners' power to chair the boards was terminated by the new constitution. One indicator of this failure, he said, was the high levies some schools were charging illegally.

“County Education Boards have no mandate of levying any fee and that is why I have always insisted that I want to work with the county commissioners”, said Matiang’i. However, some schools, taking advantage of minimum enforcement of education policies, levied illegal charges even before the county governments came into existence.

“It should be noted that the Ministry issued new guidelines that outlawed charging of exam fees. Therefore any teacher who asks parents to pay for such fees is committing an offcence,” he said.

Kathaini MP Robert Mbui, who hosted the minister, said there was need for the ministry to come up with a policy guideline showing the number of exams pupils should sit for in a term.

He said there was confusion in schools as parents were being asked to pay for exam fees saying without such guidelines some schools might use such loophole to even administer more than even five exams in a term which very unnecessary.

“It makes no sense for standard one kid or even standard four for example to seat for more than four exams in a term, this is where the conning of parents comes in and the only solution is coming up with a policy that states the number of exams a primary school kid should sit for in a term”, he said.

The MP said that it was a big surprise to him that despite going out of his was to pay for  all the classes in both primary and secondary schools in the constituency an exam every term, parents were still being asked to pay for exams.

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