Ensure that schools are equipped for learning

Monday January 4 2016

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The Ministry of Education would do well to fulfil its pledge to release money for public schools in good time to ensure that learning is not disrupted.

It has been noted that the performance of public schools in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination declined last year because of the challenges they faced, including delayed release of capitation funds and strikes by teachers.

Indeed, some headteachers had threatened to close schools early because they had not received allocations for the third term while others had no money to buy examination materials.

Schools’ inability to meet their obligations has exposed them to financial embarrassment and affected their operations.

There is, therefore, a need to ensure that school get allocations on time.

There should also be a system allowing well-wishers to assist individual schools in order to reduce the financial burden on parents.

The ministry should also step in and resolve the emerging disputes over the fees that public secondary schools should charge to ensure that this neither affects the quality of learning nor locks out learners from poor families.

It would also be worthwhile for the relevant government agencies, including the Kenya Revenue Authority, to listen to the concerns of publishers and other players in the book and education sectors who have lamented that taxation of reading materials has made them expensive, especially for public schools.

It has been proven that education is the key to reducing inequality between regions and families.

Therefore, there is a need for well-thought-out policies and strategies to ensure that the poor are not locked out of schools and that when they do get there, they are not denied learning materials on account of cost.