The Kenya National Union of Teachers has petitioned the Ministry of Education to urgently release the 30 per cent capitation allocated to schools to pay support staff and for utilities.
Union officials in Kakamega County said that the situation in schools was worrying, following reported cases of burglaries.
“The property in schools is at stake because the guards hired by the institutions and other support staff have not been paid after schools were closed in March following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a matter the Ministry of Education needs to address urgently to ensure school property is safeguarded,” said Mr Patrick Chungani, Kakamega County Knut chairman.
Besides paying support staff, the union says, several other votes in the institutions should be activated to keep them running.
The union wants school heads assisted to continue with normal operations, which include filing of returns and travelling to the institutions to check on the facilities and preparing reports.
“The situation in our schools is dire because the government appears to have abandoned its responsibility of ensuring schools are maintained and that those left behind to look after the properties are paid their salaries despite the spread of the coronavirus,” Mr Chungani said.
The union officials want the Ministry of Education to release money to sustain operations such as local travel and transport, support staff wages, electricity, water and conservancy.
Mr Chungani said in Kakamega East, Lirhanda Girls Secondary School and Malone Primary School in Ileho had been broken into and several items stolen, including computers.
He said the Ministry should release the funds without delay and ensure security was is stepped up in schools to protect property.
Meanwhile, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) yesterday asked the government to use the same force it is using to fight corruption in the country to strictly enforce, and fight for, children’s rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Secretary General Akelo Misori said the closure of schools has resulted in rampant abuse of children in the country.
“There is a sharp rise in cases of child labour, sexual exploitation and domestic violence,” he said.
Mr Misori asked education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to constitute a multi-agency task force and include civil society stakeholders to explore ways of revamping the child protection system.
“The Sexual Offences Act should be enforced robustly by identifying and punishing adults preying on schoolgirls during the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.