”Education must get right priority” an article captured and published by the Standard Newspaper on June 8 2012 just after the Teachers Strike

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Politics/Current issues

Have a look http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?articleID=2000059438&story_title=Education-must-get-right-priority

Finally, a crisis meeting between the Treasury and the ministry of Education to avert a teachers’ strike bore fruit. This was after the Treasury agreed to release Sh7 billion for the free education programme.

Teachers had issued a seven-day strike ultimatum to the Government, which was to start today.

Publishers and booksellers association had also said they will join in the strike to demand for the release of the cash. Apparently, the suppliers owe the Government about Sh4 billion.

As these revelations come into the limelight, so many questions keep on running in the minds of Kenyans over the free primary education programme implementation. During President Kibaki’s first term in office, free education was the best gift he ever gave to Kenyan pupils and students. This was noble project that even saw donors come calling to support.

However, as much as I would like to toast to the President for this, it is so unfortunate that the project has been marred with so many controversies. First, the level of corruption: So much money was lost after top officials in the Education ministry colluded with school heads to swindle the Government of the money. This forced donors to pull out their support for the programme and at some point to reclaim their money. The Government promised to look into the matter and ensure the culprits are brought to book. The matter has since gone underground and we are yet to hear anything about it.

More importance

After donors pulled out, the Government moved on and promised to oversee full implementation of the project.

However, what we are seeing now is different from the pledge. Teachers are always complaining of delayed funds and now billions of it remain unpaid. Head teachers say the situation had forced them to run schools on their pocket monies until yesterday. They said many school programmes had been halted due to lack of funds, learning materials and supplies.

Education is not one of the sectors of economy that should be played around with. The Government should invest so much in it.

{Nixon Kanali, Nairobi}

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