Ministry Education officials will present a revised budget to Parliament next Wednesday as they seek funds to implement its emergency strategy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Education docket urgently needs the funds to implement its Kenya Basic Education Covid-19 emergency response plan on coping, managing continuity and accelerating learning.The Sh24 billion plan was presented to Parliament yesterday by the Rducation Secretary Prof. George Magoha and his team.
The plan is expected to cover period of 18 months beginning June 2020.
“Covid-19 did not give anybody notice. Like other government entities, we had to return cash meant for infrastructure development to the Treasury for Covid-19 emergency kitty. But we will return to Parliament next week to ask for more funds from the exchequer,” Prof Magoha said.
While appearing before the Julius Melly-led Education Committee, the no-nonsense Magoha reiterated his early stance on national exams, maintaining that the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) timetables will not be tampered with.
Education ministry also ruled out review of school fees for now as was sought by Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and Jared Okello of Nyando. The two lawmakers called on government to reduce second term and third terms fees. “We will engage our stakeholders and address the issue of fees, among other challenges facing us as a country. But for now, I can tell you that we have no concrete promise we can make on whether or not fees will be reduced,” said Dr Belio Kipsang, Education PS.
Magoha also crushed hopes of funding private schools as was proposed by Hon. Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri) who called on government to consider the move during these challenging times of covid-19
“We are looking for money to fund public schools, not private schools… When a parent chooses to leave a public school which is free and takes his child to a private school, it means he can afford it,” said Magoha.
The CS also refused to stop the on-going e-learning after some MPs stated that many learners in rural and other places with poor internet coverage are disadvantaged and left out. Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga urged the Education ministry to work closely with its ICT counterpart to address challenges on online education that is affecting learners from poor backgrounds too.