The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has opposed Private Schools Association’s proposal that the government should allocate funds to cushion private institutions against the effects of Covid-19.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said government has no social contract with business-oriented learning institutions.
“The proposal by private schools owners that the State should provide grants to enable them pay staff salaries is totally out of tune,” said Mr Sossion.
Mr Sossion said it will be a violation of government policy to provide children with free quality education if funds meant for the same are channeled to boost private enterprises.
“It will be wrong to use tax payers’ money to finance private businesses. Investors should seek alternative funding from financial institutions or elsewhere to keep their enterprises afloat,” said Mr Sossion
Mr Sossion asked the government to ignore the proposal since the Sh6 billion which has been allocated to the Ministry of Education under the Covid-19 Economic Stimulus programme is insufficient to address the problems facing the sector.
He said in post Covid-19 period, the government will need more funds to expand classrooms for learners to observe social distancing. Private Schools Association (PSA) has proposed to be funded by the government to cushion the schools against the effects of Covid-19.
PSA Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro said the institutions currently face a serious financial crunch.
Thousands of private school teachers have not been paid their salaries since March. Currently, most private institutions offer online lessons for which they charge parents.
Mr Sossion said the demand by private schools for funds is laughable and an insult to the intelligence of the public which is aware of the billions of shillings they make annually.
Mr Sossion said the government should, instead allocate more funds to public schools which are facing an acute shortage of teachers. Currently, the shortage of teachers stands at 125,615.
“These shortage of teachers arise from lack of adequate funding of Teachers Service Commission to hire more teachers to address the shortfall,” he said.
Mr Sossion said most schools need funds to upgrade and expand existing infrastructure. He said the schools also lack teaching and learning materials.