The government will directly supply textbooks to schools starting next year to reduce corruption in procurement, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.
This is a deliberate move aimed at ensuring that the funds meant for the purchase of textbooks are used accordingly.
In the new ministerial guidelines, form one students who report to school between January 9 and 12 will be issued with six text books: Maths, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Kiswahili.
"The government will take over procurement of books for public schools. We cannot be losing billions of shillings to corruption networks," the CS said, singling out mainly sub-county and county schools for being involved in the vice.
He, however, commended national schools, saying they have not been abusing the system – the reason why most of their students pass, he added.
National distribution of the books will be done on January 4 before students reopen schools for the first term, when the free secondary school education will be rolled out.
Money for schools will be disbursed by then to ensure that all education programmes go on smoothly.
According to Dr Matiang'i, about seven publishers, both government and private ones, will produce the books for core curriculum subjects.
"The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) that is responsible for developing the curriculum and vetting and approving textbooks for use in schools has done this," the minister said.
Teachers’ Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia announced the annual hiring of 12,696 teachers in the next four years to cater for increased enrolment in secondary schools.
The government will also direct more funds to the recruitment to ensure a good teacher-student ratio is maintained.
County and sub-county schools will be prioritised in the teacher allocation as they will accommodate 63 per cent of students to be admitted next year.
"The ministry is working on having additional funds and a budgetary allocation to focus on teacher-student ratio," CS Matiang'i announced.
At the same time, he asked schools to explore other means to hire more teachers to ensure the free secondary school education is a success.
Boards of primary and secondary schools that share a compound have also been dissolved, with the minister directing that such schools should have one principal and two deputies.