President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that at least 12,500 new classrooms and related school facilities will be constructed ahead of schools’ reopening in January next year. The head of state, who spoke in Parliament as he made the 2020 State of The Nation Address, said the Ministry of Education and the Ministry Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban issue a new set of building guidelines for school infrastructure.
BELOW IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH; TOUCHING ON THE EDUCATION SECTOR.
“A Nation’s future is its children. As custodians of and trustees for future generations, it is our duty to protect, nurture and mould our young children into responsible citizens. Our children embody the only true guarantee of the continuity of this Project that we call Kenya.
To this end, my Administration continues to institute far-reaching reforms within our education sector. In January last year, we successfully commenced the roll-out of the Competency Based Curriculum, an exercise, which, while not without its challenges, is one that has nevertheless been fully embraced by all stakeholders in the education sector.
As at the end of 2019 calendar year, we had been able to achieve a textbook to pupil ratio of 1:1 for grades 1 through to 3.
I assure this distinguished sitting that the journey to replace the 8.4.4 system with the new fit-for-purpose curricula, is well underway, and refinements are being undertaken in the course of implementation.
As a parent and a grandparent, I share in the pain and frustration of most parents in having our children home for nearly an entire year. However, as a responsible Government we put the health and safety of the Children as the paramount consideration.
The gradual and phased reopening of schools that began with the examination classes is being carefully monitored at all levels so as to ensure that our Young Kenyans are safe and secure as they continue preparing for their national examinations.
The Ministry of Education will, within 14 days from the date hereof announce the 2021 Academic Calendar, with all other classes expected to resume learning in January 2021.
Still on the subject of our basic education, I made a commitment to the Nation during my last State of the Nation Address that no child should be left behind, meaning no child would be denied the right to access quality education.
I am pleased to report to this House that for the second year running we have been able to achieve a transition rate of 100% from primary to secondary school.
Even as we prepare to reopen schools, no child will be left behind, even those that have regrettably transitioned into being young parents.
However, in the face of these undoubtedly impressive gains we must guard against resting on our laurels. The next frontier in the quest to improve education in Kenya is enhancing quality of education, both in terms of physical structure as well as content.
It is evident that our public day and boarding secondary school infrastructure is overstretched and as a result, our students are suffering congestion in their classes and dormitories.
These challenges, however real, must not stop us from pursuing what we know to be the right thing for our children. Rather, they should motivate us to work even harder.
Through a combination of interventions both policy and financial involving the Ministry of Education, County Governments and Members of the National Assembly through the National Government Constituency Development Fund, we shall have the necessary resources to address the infrastructure gap in our education sector conclusively within the next 24 months.
In this regard, I appeal to you to re-prioritize the use of the discretionary funds under your oversight, to respond to the immediate
and short-term needs of our learners. Currently, there is an urgent need
for construction and equipping of more dormitories, classes, and other
amenities to facilitate further ease of learning for our children.
Conscious of the fact that significant financial resources will be deployed towards the construction of at least 12,500 new classrooms and related school facilities. In that regard, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development will by 1st December, 2020 issue a new set of building guidelines for school infrastructure that allows the use of appropriate and cost effective building technologies suited to the varied geographies of our Nation.
The intention of these guidelines will be to achieve transparent and standardized bills of quantity that will guarantee value for taxpayers’ money. For every shilling that we put into school infrastructure, we must seek to obtain more classes built to acceptable standards.”