, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has hit out at the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion over his opposition on the taking over of the distribution of text book in schools by the ministry.
Matiang’i pointed out that under the current system where head teachers are given funds under the free primary and secondary school program, Sh6.5 billion has been lost due to mismanagement.
He was speaking during a Family Group Foundation 2016 Scholarship Beneficiaries Forum where he stated that independent reports have underscored the need for a change in the system of distribution being used.
“The report by publishers themselves is there. They themselves have told me that they have gone to several counties in the country and they can see clearly that we are losing money through these middlemen business,” he said.
He pointed out that there were numerous middlemen involved in the textbook business and this was to blame for graft in the sector.
“We have so many middlemen in the process of selling books so there is collusion between distributers and sellers. Why do we have so many middlemen and all we want is a very simple thing. We take a book and give it to a child,” he said.
Sossion had termed as unacceptable the move by Matiang’i to decentralize the procurement process and stated that he should drop the idea and let teachers continue purchasing books as has been the case.
He pointed out that there had been many programs introduced by the government in the past to supply schools with learning materials and there was nothing that the education CS could do to make it work better.
Sossion had further added that there has been no wastage in the purchase of textbooks by teachers for their schools as the Education CS would want Kenyans believe.
He insisted that Matiang’i should instead focus his attention in the hiring of more teachers to schools in the country rather than such trivial matters.
The CS however invited him to provide a lasting solution rather than criticising the initiative.
“I have invited them for a discussion. I want somebody to give me an idea. I do not have a monopoly over ideas. I want to listen to other people. Tell me an idea that makes sense and I will not shut you out,” he said. “Are we foolish to manage ourselves in that kind of manner? We are losing money and we are being told by everyone.”
“It says we could be saving Sh6.4 billion every year. Since Jubilee came into power in 2013, if we saved that money, by now we could be having sh19 billion which we may have put in infrastructure,” he stated in reference to a UNESCO report.