, INDIA, Dec 29 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has paid tribute to the teachers, parents, leaders and pupils of Kirinyaga County which emerged tops in the KCPE results released on Wednesday.
“It is a distinction many would have loved to own and which Kirinyaga will stay with forever and cherish for many years to come,” the PM said.
Odinga said the ranking of performance by counties showed what lies ahead in terms of positive competition when the county governments finally take off, “under the leadership of governors elected by, and answerable to the voters.”
He said the close contest between Kirinyaga, Nandi, Makueni, Uasin Gishu and Busia counties was just but “an indication of the interesting years ahead for Kenya.”
The PM who is on a weeklong visit to India said that with the formation of county governments, positive competition would not be limited to education but would expand to many other areas, including job creation, attractiveness to private investment and economic performance between regions.
Odinga said results released on Wednesday showed the government was getting closer to attaining gender parity in enrolment and performance. He said the gains will be sustained and improved on in the coming years.
He congratulated the head teachers of Kathigiri B Primary and Nyabondo Primary schools in Meru and Kisumu respectively, for emerging tops among public schools.
Odinga said the performance of the two institutions showed that with good management, public schools can compete.
“I salute the brave head teachers of these two public schools for this inspiring performance,” the PM said.
He however asked Kenyans not to vilify private schools. The PM said private schools do well because the owners invest heavily in staffing, remuneration and equipment.
“We should always congratulate these schools for helping the country move closer to attaining education goals. Private schools are not villains, but partners in efforts to provide quality education,” he said.
The PM expressed concern over the performance of Coast Counties which emerged at the bottom of the rankings.
He said the poor show by Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties was a direct result of many years of neglect that these regions have been subjected to.
“It is a manifestation of the disparity between regions that we hope to cure with the decentralisation of power and resources to the grassroots through county governments,” the PM said.
He called on leaders from the region to use the results to push harder for a faithful implementation of the Constitution and Devolution.
With a faithful implementation, clauses through which packages like the Equalisation Fund will see the counties pick up and catch up with the rest, Odinga said.
He called on the leaders to avoid blame games and temptation to condemn and victimise teachers and instead work together with the government for lasting solutions.
The PM said the government will pay very close attention to the tribulations of these struggling counties with a view to helping them pull up gradually beginning 2012.