President William Ruto has nominated Belio Kipsang to be the new Basic Education principal secretary.
If approved by Parliament, Kipsang will take over from Jwan Julius who took over his office in 2021. Ruto also nominated Esther Thaara Mohoria PS State Department of Technical and Vocational Training. She will take over from Margaret Mwakima.
Also nominated is Beatrice Inyangala to university Education PS. If appointed, she will take over from Simon Nabukwesi.
In 2021, former president Uhuru Kenyatta moved Kipsang to State Department for Regional & Northern Corridor Development as PS.
Kipsang had served as Early Learning and Basic Education PS for about nine years under the Jubilee government.
His return to Jogoo house signals a vote of confidence from president Ruto under whom Kipsang served as PS while he was the deputy president in the Uhuru Kenyatta regime.
A close confidante of the president, Kipsang having worked at the Ministry of Education longer holds the institutional memory and will offer critical advice in the general administration of the sector.
Education sector players Wednesday roundly welcomed his return to the sector.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) national chairman Kahi Indimuli said teachers welcome Kipsang to Jogoo House.
"We welcome the move to make him PS. He has institutional memory and understands Competency Based Curriculum (CBC)," said Indimuli.
"He knows where CBC started and will help midwife it. We shall give him the support he needs and we shall be consulting him on many areas and we shall work with him."
Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kessha) national chairman Johnson Nzioka said Kipsang has a wide knowledge of the sector.
"He is the right person to give direction and also guide, having worked there longer. As teachers we look forward to working with him," said Nzioka.
Having been part of the team that rolled out the (CBC), the appointment of Kipsang to the basic education docket is seen as strategic, coming at a time the sector is undergoing major reforms.
The writing was however on the wall that Kipsang would make a comeback as he played a key role in the run-up to the general election, taking part in the drafting and delivery of education charters unveiled by Ruto.
And after the elections and Ruto was declared president, Kipsang played key roles behind the scenes, in informing various activities in the education sector and was prominent in meetings including CBC working party meetings.
Education sector players who spoke yesterday said Kipsang was the oil that lubricated the smooth running of the sector including examinations.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Collins Oyuu termed Kipsang as competent and fits the docket.
"He is competent and I am sure he is up to the task. We cannot complain. As a union we worked with him well and the ministry needs him and he will drive the sector higher," said Oyuu.
Oyuu said that the manner in unions worked with Kipsang when he was at the Ministry was satisfying.
"We support him and we know he will make it. He was part of the CBC, he knows what may have gone wrong during the roll out and he knows what needs to be adjusted. That institutional memory is great," said Oyuu.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) secretary general Akello Misori said they will work with Kipsang on sector issues.
"We shall work with him. We worked before and we hope that he will utilise his institutional memory to make right some of the things that may have gone wrong," said Misori.
Misori said: "His return to the Ministry is a major endorsement of his leadership style and management prowess of the crucial sector that touches on all households."
Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) chairperson Peter Sietenei said: ''We are not worried about the name or individual in the ministry, we are concerned on the performance of the holder of the office. We only want someone who will address the issues affecting us in the Special Needs schools,'' he said.
Sitienei added: ''We want him to look at us as equal stakeholders in the sector and address the plight affecting us."
Kipsang holds Masters of Arts and PhD degrees in Business / Economics/Administration and planning respectively.
He has had extensive professional trainings in areas of education financing and administration, leadership and management.
During the examinations reforms, Dr Kipsang oversaw the reorganization of school calendar and instituted far-reaching changes in the administration of national examinations.
Kipsang served as PS under CSs Jacob Kaimenyi, Fred Matiangi, Amina Mohamed and George Magoha.
As the CSs left the ministry in various reshuffles, Kipsang remained at Jogoo house, making him the longest-serving PS under the previous regime.
He was the central pillar of the Ministry and the engine that drove the ministry with critical advises to the CSs.
He has been behind the thorough coordination of activities between the Ministry and other semi autonomous government agencies under the sector.