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Economy

Upper primary end first term minus textbooks

Nicholas Gathemia
Kepsha chairman Nicholas Gathemia. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Upper primary school pupils are yet to receive textbooks from the government, a week to the end of the first term in delays that are hurting learning in public schools.

The Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (Kepsha) told Parliament that schools are yet to buy textbooks for classes Four, Five and Six while those in Class Seven and Eight are without two titles — Religious Education and Social Studies.

The delay is linked to government failure to remit money to schools for buying the textbooks and tendering hitches after the State failed to offer contracts to firms selected to supply classes Seven and Eight books.

This has forced pupils to share textbooks bought either by the schools or the ones acquired before the government stopped head teachers from buying learning materials.

The revelation comes even as schools prepare to close in a week’s time to allow pupils to proceed for the April holidays.

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“Class Four, Five and Six books have not been supplied to date while for classes Seven and Eight, social studies and religious Education (RE) books have not been supplied,” Kepsha chairman Nicholas Gathemia told the National Assembly Education Committee.

The government last year begun supplying textbooks directly to schools in a move targeted at achieving the 1:1 textbook to student ratio and to cut off cartels in the distribution chain.

Publishers

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KIDC) issued tender and shortlisted publishers to handle textbooks for classes Seven and Eight.

The publishers await their contracts, stalling delivery of the RE and social studies books to schools.

Textbooks for classes Four, Five and Six were to be bought through capitation sent to the public primary schools.

“To date, money to facilitate that activity has not been remitted,” said Mr Gathemia.

A teacher said she was forced share seven Kiswahili textbooks with 90 students.

Primary school head teachers are now lobbying for a return to the former text book policy where schools got cash earmarked for textbooks.

In 2016, a report by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) unearthed massive fraud in the procurement of textbooks for public schools, with head teachers playing a key role in the racket.

The fraud ranged from forged signatures, delivery of phantom books, overpricing and single-sourcing of suppliers by instructional materials selection committees at the school level.

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