Thirty schools are to be promoted to national status in a Sh700 million programme aimed at improving enrolment and ensuring national cohesion.
Each of the schools will get Sh25 million to expand classrooms, dormitories and laboratories to create 6,000 more Form One places in national schools next year. Currently there are 4,000 places in national schools.
Education permanent secretary James ole Kiyiapi unveiled the new schools on Monday before retreating to a closed-door meeting with the institutions’ principals, boards of governors, parent-teacher associations to deliberate on the new development.
The schools will provide 3,240 new places for boys and 2,670 for girls.
Prof Kiyiapi said at the Kenya Institute of Education that the schools were selected for posting good results in national examinations and being endowed with resources that meet the criteria for national schools.
He said 30 more would be promoted next year to bring the number of national schools to 94 with each county having two in the next four years. Currently there are 18 national schools.
The permanent secretary said the move would ensure all students accessed quality education, improve transition rate from primary to secondary and promote national unity.
Some leaders had earlier rejected the promotion of schools, saying it would reduce the number of constituents joining them yet local communities had invested a lot in them.
But Prof Kiyiapi defended the programme, saying: “The policy is introduced in good faith. It will enable young Kenyans to interact in pursuit of academic excellence. We want to give Kenyan children a chance to know their country,” he said.
“We will not disregard community investment and sense of ownership. We want a heterogeneous population of children in all our schools so that we can demystify tribal blocks politicians are creating.”