NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – The subject of education caused heated debate between presidential candidates James ole Kiyiapi and Peter Kenneth during Monday’s inaugural presidential debate.
The two disagreed on whether the problems in the education sector are caused by a shortage of teachers or the poor distribution of teachers.
Kenneth put Kiyiapi on the spot over the imbalanced distribution of teachers in the country given he is a former Education Permanent Secretary.
“The shortage of teachers is not the problem… their distribution is,” Kenneth challenged Kiyiapi who said there is a current shortfall of 100,000 teachers and he would rectify this situation by hiring 20,000 teachers annually should he become president at a cost of Sh7 billion annually.
“One of my saddest days as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education is when a young boy committed suicide in Kericho county because of marks,” Kiyiapi said on the deficiency of secondary schools compared to the number of primary schools in the country.
Presidential aspirant Musalia Mudavadi reiterated his manifesto pledge to provide free education from nursery to secondary school. “In today’s day and age, education is form four level education.”
Children stopping school following the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, Mudavadi added, leaves them vulnerable to child labour.
“One of my saddest days as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education is when a young boy committed suicide in Kericho county because of marks”
Prime Minister Raila Odinga pledged to make free education “truly free,” by providing uniforms and books in public schools. He also promised to focus on girl child education and ensure the continual provision of sanitary towels to girls in public schools.
More boys getting into secondary schools than girls, the premier said, was also regrettable.
Insecurity, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said, is exacerbated by the large number of students who are not absorbed in secondary schools and said technical institutions in every county would equip them with skills they can use to support themselves and therefore not turn to crime.
The NARC-Kenya presidential candidate Martha Karua said the subject of education is particularly close to her heart “as I would not be here asking for your votes if it were not for the education I received.”
Karua moved the debate on to higher education saying that her government will not only provide university tuition loans but accommodation loans as well.
On how she would fund her proposals for the education sector Karua said.
“Treasury itself has admitted that a third of its annual budget is lost to corruption.”