By Mzalendo Contributor – Moreen Majiwa (@mmajiwa)
The topic of education has been receiving a lot of play in media recently. Whether or not to reform the 8.4.4 system? The introduction quota system for entry into national secondary schools, whether or not to scrap the parallel course at public universities, are all part of the debate. Today’s Standard newspaper has an interesting story on Jua Kali National Schools. The story is about the Ministry of Education’s plan to upgrade about 100 provincial secondary schools to national schools to ensure that more students graduating for primary school have access to a national school education. As the article rightly points out, a change in the status of a school from provincial to national adds little value if nothing is done to improve the schools infrastructure and/or the quality of the education given in the schools, and is unlikely to equip the children going to these newly ‘nationalised’ schools with the knowledge and skills to advance themselves.
The low quality of public education is surprising given the amount of money that goes into the system. The National Taxpayers Association revealed just how much taxpayers money goes into the education sector, about Kshs 6.6 billion annually. Frankly for that amount I would think the public education system would be in better shape both quality and infrastructure-wise particularly in the rural areas. Did you know every year, Kshs. 30 million is set aside for each constituency to construct a centre of excellence? And that each constituency is expected to equip two primary schools with water harvesting facilities costing Sh. 1.47 million? And that in addition to CDF, the government allocates millions of shillings to every constituency for education through the Economic Stimulus Project. I live in Nairobi, but when I look at the school in my “shagz”, Karachounyo Constituency, I’m hard pressed to believe that the constituency receives even Kshs. 1 million let alone Kshs. 30 million every year for education. Further neither the primary nor the secondary school could be termed centres of excellence.
So my question is where is the money going?