Education secretary Fred Matiang’i Wednesday ruled out any further discussions on the decision by the government to directly procure books for schools in a plan expected to save taxpayers Sh13.8 billion.
Dr Matiang’i criticised teachers’ unions over their opposition to the policy and dared book sellers to challenge his directive in court.
“We are not going back on the policy of books. Those who are unhappy, I will be very glad to meet you in court,” said the Cabinet Secretary during the launch of of a book— Nasaha Kamusi— by State publisher Kenya Literature Bureau in Nairobi.
Schools, he said, had failed to procure books in order to have a 1:1 book ratio, adding while on a visit to a school in Eastern region he came across 46 students who were using two chemistry books in a class.
“Learning outcomes have a direct relation with learning materials. We cannot succeed if our children are in schools without learning materials yet the ministry is well funded by the exchequer,” the CS said.
He said outright theft and corruption in distribution of books cannot be allowed to continue.
“We will not allow profiteers and thieves who do not care about the welfare of our children to hold the sector hostage.”
Teachers’ work is teaching, not procuring books, he said.
Education ministry says the direct purchase by the government will cost Sh7.5 billion, down from the current cost of Sh21.4 billion.