Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has described the auditing system used in Kenyan schools as a “big joke” and a great let-down and accused auditors of colluding with headteachers to give favourable reports even when money has been lost.
At the same time, Dr Matiang’i decried the inappropriate use of free learning cash and the distribution of government-purchased books in schools.
Speaking to education officials in Kisumu on Tuesday, Dr Matiang’i also said the system of assessing the performance of teachers was still substandard and should be addressed.
A combative Dr Matiang’i said time had come for ministry officials to “get to work and stop complaining”.
“Let me say it today here: Our school auditing system is a great let-down and a big joke.
“The stories of auditors colluding with headteachers to give favourable reports when our money is lost should come to an end.
“I will make sure that I put my feet on the ground and take serious action,” Dr Matiang’i told the education officials.
The Education CS was speaking at Tom Mboya Labour College, where the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the Kenya National Examinations Council, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, the county and TSC directors of Education, the National Education Board, as well as secondary and primary school heads had gathered for the two-day retreat.
HEADTEACHER PUT TO TASK
Dr Matiang’i, who has swept the education sector by storm, had earlier visited Pandpieri Primary School, on the outskirts of Kisumu, where he took the headteacher to task over books and latrines.
“I have never understood how we distribute books in the schools. We budget a lot of money, but two-thirds of the schools I have visited since I came here have no books,” he said.
On data management, Dr Matiang’i said information on how teachers were performing as well as how they were assessed was still below par.
“The way we are managing data on teachers and education in general is very bad.
“We want accurate, reliable and timely data to run the sector,” he said.
He added: “In some schools, some headteachers have hired people to teach for them and are busy campaigning to become MCAs.
“When I ask the county director of such a place and he says he doesn’t know, you ask, 'Who should?'”
Dr Matiang’i also reiterated a message by TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia, who on Monday said that the Ministry of Education's failure to provide audit reports had led to corrupt headteachers getting off the hook.
On Monday, Ms Macharia said: “Sometimes we are forced to transfer a headteacher who is not doing their work, because when we take them to court without detailed audit reports, we cannot prove anything and we use a lot of money in courts.
“Let us imagine what a situation will be when the TSC gets access to the audit reports run by the ministry to discipline teachers. That way we won’t have to transfer incompetent headteachers to other schools to eat again.”
The CS directed that a joint county education coordination framework be formed that would comprise the TSC, the ministry and quality assurance officials from each county.
He also announced that he would personally run observation reports on teachers’ performance from his office.
“At the end of every term, I want only 47 reports that have been signed by all these people. We no longer want the agencies working as if they are different,” said Dr Matiang’i.