Last Updated at: 2020-06-16 17:04:20
The proposal by Private schools owners that the State should provide grants in order to sustain the wage bill of the teaching and non-teaching staff has been strongly opposed by KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
The SG claims that the Government has no social contract with business-oriented learning institutions; hence owners of Private schools should NOT be given funds to sustain their lucrative enterprises at the expense of starving Public Education, calling it out of tune and unrealistic.
"The demand by Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) for funds from the Government under the pretext that their cash flows has evaporated with unexpected closing of schools to fight the Coronavirus pandemic is laughable and an insult to the intelligence of the public which is fully aware of the billions of shillings Private school make annually in terms of profit." Said Sossion.
In a letter addressed to Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha and Hon. Ukur Yattani of Kenya National Treasury, Secretary General Wilson Sossion said It will be wrong to use tax payers' money to finance private businesses asking investors to seek alternative funding from financial institutions or elsewhere to keep their enterprises afloat, but NOT from the Public coffers.
" It will be illogical, absurd and an act of violation of Government policy to provide children with Free Quality Education if funds meant for the same are channelled to boost private enterprises. The country is faced with a severe shortage of teachers which has seriously hit State-sponsored schools countrywide, threatening the quality of education and compromising confidence in Public Education, " the SG said.
Teacher shortage in the country presently stands at 125,615 - shortage in Secondary schools has risen to 95,258 from 57,380 in November 2019. In Primary schools the shortage has hit 30,357 mark. Sossion claimed that the shortages arise from lack of adequate funding to Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to hire more teachers to address the shortfall calling for adequate funds to be availed to TSC to employ more teachers.
He maintained that it would be unreasonable, illogical and in total defiance of Government policy to divert funds meant for Public Education to private businesses.
"In Post-COVID-19 period, the Government will needs more funds to engage adequate teachers to address expanded classrooms for learners to observe social distancing protocol. Most schools desperately need funds to upgrade and expand existing infrastructures; teaching/learning tools are in short supply in majority of schools; and more importantly, there is serious need to resuscitate the moribund School Feeding Programme. All these need funding from the Government." Sossion said.
He warned that COVD-19 situation should NOT be used by Private Investors to advance their own personal business interests at the expense of Public Education calling on the Government to ignore calls from Private investors to be funded from the Exchequer, considering that the Shs6 billion which has been allocated to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology under the COVID19 Economic Stimulus Programme is not even enough to address the immediate concerns of learners, teachers and the school community.
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