NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – The Cabinet has approved a Bill that makes it illegal for children to be out of school and imposes punitive jail terms and fines for parents and guardians who flout the law.
At the same time, persons propagating cheating in national exams will be liable to heavy punishment of up to 10 years in jail after the Cabinet also adopted another proposed law meant to curb the practise.
The Basic Education Bill 2012 was adopted at a meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki on Thursday that outlines stiff penalties for parents who fail to take their children to the level of secondary school.
Under the provisions of the proposed law, parents or guardians who decline sending their children to school risk a maximum penalty of a five-year jail term or a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or in extreme cases, both.
The landmark proposal seeking to raise the literacy levels especially in rural and marginalised areas of the country also states that it is illegal to employ a child of school age going aged 18 or under and punitive actions will also be taken against those who exercise cruelty on children.
The Cabinet also approved the Kenya National Examinations Council Bill 2012 that proposes among other issues a five year jail term for those who collude and facilitate examination leakage.
This law is meant to curb the incidents of cheating in national exams that have been on the rise in recent years due to cut throat competition for limited spaces in secondary and tertiary institutions.
The maximum penalty under the proposed exam law will be a sentence of 10 years with a fine not exceeding Sh2 million for persons found in possession of examination material illegally.
Those who abet cheating or cause exam leakage will also face similar punishment.
Other Bills passed in regard to the education sector and aimed at putting the sector in line with the New Constitution and Vision 2030 were, Policy Framework for Education and Training, The Establishment of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development Bill 2012 and The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Bill 2012.
The proposed Universities Bill 2012 that is seeking to ensure that all public and private universities will be governed under one law but they will however, maintain their individual identities and character through their charter.
The Bill also outlines how universities will have a framework for a credible alumni system and makes it possible for the alumni to be actively engaged in the management of universities.