Headmasters, Knut spoiling for a fight with Magoha

By Fred Kai On Mon, 2 Dec, 2019 16:44 | 2 mins read
headmasters
Thousands of primary school headmasters are in Mombasa for their annual meeting. PHOTO | FRED KAI | K24 DIGITAL

Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha, is on Tuesday set to face tough questions from primary school headmasters over Education ministry’s plant to cut them off from procurement of textbooks.

Primary school heads, who converged in Mombasa for their annual meeting, demanded that Prof Magoha shelves the government plan and allow them to procure learning materials directly.

Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (Kepsha) chairman Nicholas Gathemia said teachers had not been consulted on the right learning materials for learners even as the government plans to distribute the materials to schools before January.

Backed by the Kenya National Union of teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, the Kepsha chairman said the ministry’s move is unacceptable.

Prof Magoha is set to officially open the delegates conference on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, with over 7,500 headmasters in attendance.

Some of the teachers attending the conference accused Prof Magoha’s ministry of bulldozing policies, warning such behaviour would derail delivery of quality education.

Knut claimed the move was informed by cartels out to swindle monies during the distribution of books.

“It was totally wrong to decentralize the procurement and supply of books; this is a plan to steal public money. We know those who are behind it and we shall expose them,” said Sossion.

The teachers union also renewed calls for the suspension of the National Education Management Information System (Nemis), which the Ministry of Education uses to allocate funds to schools.

 “Nemis should be suspended because its discriminating, its not working, until when we prove its working,” Sossion said.

He said Nemis has created more confusion than order.

According to William Ogenda, Ogilo Primary School head teacher, an identification error code in Nemis is denying capitation funds to deserving students.

“The system has been a full headache to us. There are some areas where it can’t be accessed. We appeal to the ministry to suspend it until its proven working, we fully support the calls by Knut have it suspended,” said Ogilo.

Sossion, while addressing the teachers conference on Monday, said all capitation monies should be wired to the school accounts.

 “Let the entire capitation be wired to school accounts and allow teachers to manage it. Head teachers are managers, therefore, they should be allowed to procure materials for their schools,” said Sossion.

On the implementation of the new curriculum, Knut said the government has failed to hire more teachers to bridge the child-teacher ratio.

Sossion said for the CBC to succeed, every teacher should teach about 28 pupils.

Knut rift

The Knut boss also downplayed rifts within the giant teachers union despite recent chaos that rocked the leadership.

He accused Teachers Service Commission for scheming a plot to kill the union.

“We are united as a union, no rifts within,” said Sossion ,who was accompanied by the entire National Governing Council at the conference.

According to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) data, the Education ministry is targeting to have textbooks supplied to 22,000 public schools by end of December.

The ministry has already provided a list of learners per school so that it is easy to determine the number of books required for each school.