, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – President Uhuru Kenyatta says the distribution of textbooks to public schools across the country will ensure all institutions maintain a competitive edge within the region and globally.
Speaking when he flagged off caravans taking new curriculum books to schools across the country, the Head of State indicated that this will achieve a 1:1 ratio in all institutions.
While emphasising the need for teachers to dedicate themselves fully to their work, he urged publishers to also provide the textbooks to private schools at the same price that the government has been given.
“This provision that my government is giving will ensure that our schools have a competitive edge globally and within the region. One hundred percent transition from primary to secondary for all learners is also now a reality with the start of our free secondary education for day schools,” he said.
“Today we flag off the provision of core course books. This is the beginning of an exercise that will ensure a 1:1 textbook ratio. This initiative that cost the government Sh7.5 billion has also realized a saving of Sh13.8 billion. As I have been informed, the cost of textbooks have significantly reduced and this should benefit parents and guardians,” he stated.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi stated the books have gone through serious vetting with over 100 publishers having been approved.
“We are not importing any programs from anybody because we have development objectives that have been defined very clearly by our President and we have a path to follow that has been defined. And therefore we will continue in that trajectory. Let us now move forward with this resolve,” he stated.
The event brought together all publishers in Kenya and education stakeholders to witness it and will entail the supply of books directly to schools.
Matiangi said students will receive six textbooks for core subjects, directly from the government.
Distributors had raised concerns about the effects the ministry’s plans will have on their businesses but according to the CS, the policy change is aimed at locking out cartels that collude with school heads to distribute textbooks, some of which are not approved by the ministry, at inflated prices.
Previously, schools were at liberty to buy books from distributors of their choice using government capitation.
Primary school pupils were allocated Sh761 per year under the model while secondary school students received Sh4,792 annually.