Head teachers suffered a major blow after the Ministry of Education ruled out any talks with their union over the termination of the central textbooks purchase policy.
On Monday, primary school heads renewed their push for the termination of the policy saying it was negatively affecting the education sector.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion extended an olive branch and asked the education bosses to dialogue with the union to resolve this and other issues affecting the sector.
But in response, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha ruled out any talks with the giant union.
“Before you talk about an olive branch, go and listen to the vitriol from whoever spoke here (Knut officials). After you have listened to that speech do you think they want to bury the hatchet?” Prof Magoha asked. He spoke after opening the Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) 15th annual delegates conference in Mombasa.
“Textbooks shall continue to be purchased by the good government of Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta who has delegated the prefect-ship to my most humble self. I shall ensure that every child in Kenya is given a book at the cheapest price because I have no interest. The head teachers have no issues. Why are you bringing it back again? The history is not very nice. Let’s not go back to it,” the CS said.
“A mathematic book for Grade 3 at Nairobi Primary cannot be the same as for a primary school in rural Wajir because learners are at different levels,” Mr Sossion said. He claimed that the procurement of textbooks had become a conduit for corruption.
“Who is so clever that he can choose a book for all the learners in the country? We are insisting strongly on reverting to the old system, but don’t steal or mess,” the Knut boss said.
At the same time, head teachers have been warned against procuring competency based curriculum assessment materials from quacks, which are eroding gains made by the new curriculum.
Instead, the Kenya National Examinations Council has instructed heads of learning institutions to prepare the materials themselves.
“You are doing a disservice to the learners when you buy such materials. A good assessment will be one which is derived from the learning experiences the learner is exposed to during the course of teaching” Dr Patrick Ochichi said on behalf of Knec chief executive officer, Dr Mercy Karogo.