Ministry of Education officials will next Wednesday present a revised budget to Parliament in order to get funds for implementing its emergency strategy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry urgently requires the funds to implement its Kenya Basic Education Covid-19 emergency response plan on coping, managing continuity and accelerating learning.
The plan, presented to Parliament yesterday by Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and his team, requires Sh24 billion for a period of 18 months beginning next month.
“This disease did not give anybody notice. Like other government entities, we had to return cash meant for infrastructure development to the Treasury for Covid-19 emergency kitty. But we will return to Parliament next week to ask for more funds from the exchequer,” Prof Magoha said.
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Appearing before the Julius Melly-led Education Committee, the CS reiterated his early stance on exams, maintaining that the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) timetables remain unchanged.
The ministry also ruled out review of fees for now as was sought by MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) and Jared Okello (Nyando). The two legislators called on government to consider reducing fees for second and third terms.
“We will engage our stakeholders and address the issue of fees, among other challenges facing us as a country. But for now, I can tell you that we have no concrete promise we can make on whether or not fees will be reduced,” said Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang.
Magoha also ruled out funding private schools after Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri) called on government to consider the move during this hard financial period.
“The money we are looking for now is to fund public schools, not private ones... When a parent chooses to leave a public school which is free and takes his child to a private school, it means he can afford it,” said Magoha.
Magoha also declined stopping the on-going e-learning after MPs stated that many learners in rural and other disadvantaged backgrounds had been left out.
Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga urged the Education ministry to work closely with its ICT counterpart to address challenges on online education.