- Written by Peace Loise Mbae
The Ministry of Education will issue textbooks of six subjects when joining Form one in 2018, a move meant to tackle the shortage of textbooks in Kenyan high schools.
According to a recent global education monitoring report by UNESCO, Kenya is among counties that have seen massive enrollments in schools but failed to keep up with the availability of the right reading materials.
Less than five per cent of students in rural areas have access to textbooks even in the core subjects like mathematics, science and languages with the annual government allocation to schools per child remaining the same at Sh1,020 and Sh10,265 per year for primary and secondary respectively.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said students will receive Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Chemistry, Biology and Physics upon reporting date of January 9.
“Students had no earlier knowledge of this but on January 4, we will flag off the distribution of textbooks across the country and the Form One will be given the textbooks. This is how you achieve equity,” he said.
Matiangi who was addressing education sector stakeholders attending the Form One selection exercise noted there was a big problem in the access of books for school going children putting pressure on the parents to buy books.
He said the decision was taken to curb misappropriation of public resources that had been reported with several schools consequently affecting children.
“I was engaging with the Kenya National Examinations Council, Chairman Prof Magoha who was surprised that books that were being sold for Sh790, now cost Sh194 through the procurement system we have set up. We have lost a lot of money in this process.”
Matiang’I said it was sad in some schools there are only four textbooks to be shared among 50 students.
He said he was stunned by findings that Rwanda pays less on books published in Kenya.
The CS also directed the Region Education Directors to monitor the roll-out of the initiative which will go hand in hand with the government’s plan to provide free basic secondary school education.
He also called for an end to the culture of book-harvesting which had been practiced by some school heads.