NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has appealed to teachers across the country to be patient as the government seeks to address their concerns which include better pay and a conducive working environment.
Speaking during the official opening of the 8th African Education International Regional Conference at the KICC on Wednesday, President Kenyatta pointed out the government’s commitment in fulfilling its pledges but said that it needs to be given more time.
President Kenyatta stressed that a number of projects in the education sector have been given priority and if teachers are tolerant, issues affecting them will be addressed in due course.
“The issue of quality education is not just about one variable but all variables and they must all move together and we must spread it and eventually we shall get there. So I call on my friends… give us time to breathe; we will get there. Sometimes you know you tend to see something like a conflict which is self made because the pressures are on each of us but we must remember that we live in a country of limited resource,” he emphasised.
The Head of State explained that one of the major projects being undertaken was the provision of electricity in all schools across the country, an initiative he says will enhance the quality of education.
“We also have to look at the other variables within the limited pot that we have. We are trying and struggling very hard. One of the commitment my government has made is that by the end of this financial year in July in order for us to have equity across the country, we want to ensure that every single primary school is connected to electricity to ensure that we have equity,” he indicated.
His sentiments were echoed by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi who underscored the need for everyone including teachers to look at the bigger picture and support efforts by the government in ensuring quality education for everyone.
“I want to remind all of you that other people apart from teachers have their own rights and privileges and there are teachers, children and their parents; their voices must be heard. Other than your members’ welfare ladies and gentlemen, how about addressing other related issues like what you are doing here today and that brings to mind the issue of professionalism,” he said.
“So what is the percentage of our GDP that has been set aside for education? In our country we are talking about 2 percent. What is preventing the countries in Africa from setting aside sufficient resources to spur growth in the education sector so that yes indeed, we can see our people grow?”
The chairperson of the National Assembly Committee on Education Sabina Chege further stressed the need for the improvement of the quality of education in schools and other institutions of learning.
“We have all gone through the education system in Kenya. A few rotten potatoes will not spoil the spirit of education in this country. We have and my committee is committed to ensuring that our education sector in not in turmoil. We have challenges and we are ready to face them head-on,” she said.
Speaking during Citizen TV’s Cheche show, she revealed that the government is keen to ensure that all institutions adhere to the principles of accountability to ensure that high standards are maintained in the education sector.
“If there are people who are not accountable, we will make them accountable. If there are universities or lecturers who are not doing their jobs right, we will catch up with them. We have over 35 universities now and if we need to close some of them, we will do so. If we need to close some of the collages we will close them, if we need to fire some principals or even censure the Education Cabinet Secretary, we will. So it is not like we are just watching things happening,” she stated.