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Free high school learning is set to fail
By Sheila Otieno | Updated Jun 19, 2017 at 09:29 EAT
President Uhuru Kenyatta and leaders from Western

As is always the case during elections, politicians are busy making promises of what they will do if elected. For instance, both Jubilee and NASA are promising free secondary school education.

But if past experience is anything to go by, then President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga are not being sincere.

They are only taking advantage of poor Kenyans by promising freebies to win votes. Jubilee’s pledge of laptops for primary school children in the run-up to the 2013 elections swept them to power.

Had this promise been fulfilled, it would have been a major achievement for the ruling coalition. But with just about two months to the next elections, pupils must have given up on the laptops.

Jubilee also promised five stadiums across the country. Not even one has been built. The cost of living is at an all-time high despite promises of economic prosperity.

It is embarrassing that while some Kenyans die every year due to drought and hunger, now even those with some source of income are sleeping hungry because there is no unga.

There have been claims that the shortage is artificial and meant to benefit cartels that have friends and relatives in high places. Yet the President has already forgotten all the failed promises and is busy making new ones.

If I were the President, I would have gone back to my manifesto, analysed it and picked out what I had delivered. I would then have gone back to the people and explained why I was unable to deliver laptops and stadiums, why the cost of living is unbearable and how I intend to remedy the situation if they give me five more years.

However, that is not what has happened and there are those Kenyans, irrespective of tribe and political affiliation, who will still want to hold leaders to account. It is disheartening that Uhuru and Raila are not even telling us how they will implement free secondary school education.

Clearly, they are likely to make the same mistake retired President Mwai Kibaki made when he introduced free primary school education. Where will the Sh60 billion needed come from?

Enrolment increased massively when free primary school education was introduced as those who had been kept out of school due to punitive fees joined or rejoined school.

Yet additional teachers to take care of the high enrolment were not hired; neither were facilities improved. That is why the wealthy prefer to take their children to private schools.

It is going to be worse for the promised secondary school progamme if these pitfalls are not addressed.

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