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Outrage as Form 4s get books weeks to exams

By Protus Onyango | Published Tue, August 21st 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 21st 2018 at 00:07 GMT +3
Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO Julius Jwan distributes textbooks at M.M Shah Primary School on January 19, 2018. [File, Standard]

Form Four candidates who sit their national exams in two months received English textbooks last week.

As a pointer to the chaos in the distribution of Sh7 billion books purchased by the Government, head teachers said supplies were expected in January, but it was only last week that English textbooks were delivered.

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Some school principals expressed their displeasure with the system, saying the distribution of textbooks by the Government has been a nightmare and has greatly affected teaching in schools.

The principals said some schools had received excess books, and others only a few or nothing at all.

Received less

Kahi Indimuli, Kenya Secondary School Headteachers Association (Kessha) chairman, said they had raised the issue with the Ministry of Education and Kenya Publishers Association (KPA), through Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).

“There is a delay in distribution of textbooks to schools. Some schools have received more books while others have received less. Only a few of the schools started receiving textbooks for English language last week, including mine – Machakos Boys High School,” said Indimuli. He said chaotic distribution of textbooks would affect Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education candidates as schools were using old textbooks, which had not been approved.

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“The ministry is aware that there is a problem with the distribution of books. We are opening for third and last term this year but we don’t have all books,” said Indimuli.

Teachers are also having difficulties in teaching Literature and Fasihi as not all students have the set books.

“Each student is supposed to have three set books for Fasihi and three for Literature. But Government has directed that parents buy these books. Parents have refused saying Government buys books. Now teachers are at a loss,” Indimuli said.

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He added that they have requested Government to intervene and buy all text books for students.

He said the Government had been relying on wrong data to distribute textbooks, and this had resulted in deficits being witnessed across the country.

“We have situations where the Ministry of Education supplied books based on the number of Form Four students. But due to the 100 per cent transition, Form Ones in a school can be double the number of those in Form Four, hence the deficit,” said Indimuli.

Kenya Primary Schools Head teachers Association chairman Shem Ndolo said many primary schools had been affected.

Crucial meeting

“We are meeting ministry officials tomorrow over this matter of textbooks. Many of our schools have problems with the way distribution is being done. We will speak more after the meeting,” said Ndolo said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, while flagging off distribution of free textbooks, warned against corruption.

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“Accountability for public resources is not going to be negotiable. The provision of free core course text books to every learner in public schools had been achieved without an extra shilling being pumped into the Ministry of Education’s budget,” he said in January during the launch.

The President said the Government had saved Sh13.8 billion after bypassing middlemen and dealing direct with publishers.

The first phase was to cover Standard Seven and Eight and Form One up to Form Four.

But teachers across the country said there was no school that had received all the books under the programme.

Teachers and their unions are now calling on the Government to investigate the whole distribution process, saying it is riddled with bureaucracy.  

Zablon Awange, Kisumu branch executive secretary of Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, said teachers in Nyanza region had received less books.

“The textbook centralisation by Government was meant to solve past systems that targeted unscrupulous suppliers. Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed should ensure the process is a success as it used to be in 1970s and does not turn out to be a cash cow,” said Awange.

He said taxpayers stand to lose if the process is not handled in a transparent manner, citing incidences where ministry officials are said to be interfering with the supply.

“Logistics and delivery of textbooks is becoming a Herculean task. Textbooks are indicated ‘Not For Sale’ yet officials from the ministry are forcing teachers to write receipts for books delivered yet they only signed delivery notes without value,” said Awange.

KICD boss

Education ministry referred The Standard to KICD chief executive of Dr Julius Jwan to comment on the matter.

Jwan said the records they have show distribution in secondary schools had been completed, but acknowledged that there were cases of surpluses and deficits.

Kenya Publishers Association chairman Lawrence Njagi said they had delivered 99 per cent of the textbooks as per the contract they signed with Government.


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