How MPs can bridge schools equipment gaps

MPs can support schools to acquire equipment necessary for curriculum delivery.

School Equipment and Production Unit (SEPU) chief executive Dr Joel Mabonga said that through the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), MPs are able to provide equipment in learning institutions.

“With CDF money, we can be able to provide some school requirements that schools need to enable learners access learning. Things like desks, infrastructures, and equipping of libraries and laboratories can be a collaborative thing,” Dr Mabonga.

He said that the blame game of poor results among school stakeholders can be solved if the leaders provide conducive environment for learning to thrive.

Dr Mabonga said that collaboration between stakeholders will ensure teachers are facilitated with required curriculum and teaching aids in good time.

He said even with delayed funding in schools, there is need to find alternatives to ensure teaching and learning is successful.

Dr Mabonga acknowledge that schools purchasing power shrinks with the delayed capitation, saying that the government through its agencies should partner with other institutions to provide the required materials to schools.

‘‘When there are delays in release of capitation to schools, the ripple effects trickle down to schools purchasing power. We are trying to look for other avenues to come out of this,’’ Dr Mabonga said.

Dr Mabonga further said government changed policy of acquiring learning materials from where schools purchased them directly to now where publishers are contracted directly by the government to deliver the products to institutions.

He observed that, although the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) does its mandate of quality assurance, facilities reaching the destination lays squarely with the service providers.

“The challenge has been at the point of distribution because the publishers is to ensure they deliver the consignment to the doorsteps of schools. In case of delays, the problem is in the chain of distribution not KICD or government,” Dr Mabonga said.

He however said, the government is working on modality of ensuring technology is used to ensure books and other learning materials reach schools in the right time.

“To deal with the matter, we need to deploy technology in tracking the books from the source to schools. This will ensure we do not have hitches on distribution of books,’’ he stated.

Dr Mabonga revealed that with recommendations of Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) to enhance mandate of SEPU, the agency will now undertake the procurement and distribution of learning materials hence closing all gaps.

He further acknowledged the shortage of resources in schools, saying the most affected are County and Sub-County although they absorb many learners every year.

Dr Mabonga said the disparities that exist in the education landscape continue affecting the sector and pitched for equal distribution of resources.

“Not all schools are well endowed and diverse learning and instruction materials. We have national schools with well historic good infrastructural resources as opposed to the Sub-County Schools,” he said.

“There needs to be an analysis of distribution of the resources to be able to see how to bring in equity in schools.”

Dr Mabonga further said, with the Competency Based Curriculum, schools will now prioritize their needs depending on the capitation disbursed.

“In CBC, the creativity of what learners will be able to do will save the government a great deal. Schools will now prioritize their needs depending on funding from the government,’’ he stated.

He said, rationalization of learning areas in Comprehensive School (Grade one to Six and that of Junior Secondary) is an indication of governments effort to reduce cost of burden from households.

Dr Mabonga said the agency is mandated to design, produce and deliver school equipment ranging from school lockers, science materials and chemical re-agents.

He said the agency that is domiciled in the basic education has come up with intervention to assist mitigate the challenges in Junior Secondary on science subjects.

“We have looked at JSS curriculum and come up with a provision on the same. We have innovated to ensure where we have inadequate lab

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