Teachers' unions want low-cost slum schools closed

Knut, Kuppet and over 10 civil society organisations said the institutions were hiring unqualified teachers.

Tuesday January 26 2016

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion at a press conference in his Nairobi office on December 18, 2015. Teachers’ unions have demanded the regulation of low-cost schools in slums, saying they are compromising on quality education. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion at a press conference in his Nairobi office on December 18, 2015. Teachers’ unions have demanded the regulation of low-cost schools in slums, saying they are compromising on quality education. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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Teachers’ unions have demanded the regulation of low-cost schools in slums, saying they are compromising the quality education.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) and more than 10 civil society organisations said the institutions were hiring unqualified teachers.

They singled out Bridge International Academies, which is supported by the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as one of the institutions that should be closed down.

"The funding from these financial institutions should be directed to public schools and not private institutions," said Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion.

Mr Sossion said the schools are not supervised by the Education ministry and therefore are compromising the quality of education.

"We cannot allow the education sector to be privatised at all,” he added.

He was speaking in Nairobi during a forum on the commercialisation of the education sector.

Bridge Academies has 400 schools in the slums, with a pupil population of about 100,000.

The schools' co-founder, Dr Shannon May, said the schools are out to serve Kenyans in slum areas and who are live in poverty.

“We only charge about Sh600-700 per month and not Sh1,300 as it being alleged,” said Dr May.

She maintained that the institution is not out to make profits but to support Kenyan children.

READ: Kenyan slum schools chain gets Sh1.4bn cash injection

A quality assurance and standards department official at the Ministry of Education, Ms Susan Wanjau, said the ministry had released new guidelines on registering such schools.

READ: Kaimenyi faulted on non-formal schools guidelines

The Ministry of Education had last year asked non-formal schools not to open any new centres pending the issuing of fresh rules governing the sub-sector as they were yet to be finalised.

The draft Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training policy (2009) is meant to make Kenya’s non-formal school system comply with the Basic Education Act of 2013.

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