Several school children across the country were kept waiting for textbooks after transport hitches delayed the distribution to the public schools.
Distribution of textbooks to Public schools ahead of Form One admission was hit by delays especially in schools in the far flung areas, and those situated in remote regions of Mount Kenya, Western, Nyanza and Coast.
The delays witnessed were majorly occasioned by transport hitches, and in some cases failure by school managers to provide the correct data of their institutions in time, which left the County Directors of Education to act on the little information they had.
For instance, in Nyandarua County, a number of Principals who preferred not to be named for fear of being victimised revealed that they were (at the time of going to press) yet to receive the textbooks.
The said the delay was hurting both the teachers and learners, and that they could not go back to parents/guardians requesting them to buy textbooks.
The County Director of Education, Hellen Ochwando, however assured teachers, parents and leaners that the teaching/learning materials were on the way.
It was a similar state of affair in Vihiga County and other areas where Principals said they were yet to receive the books.
The County boss, Victoria Mulili told desperate Head teachers that the learning materials would soon be distributed.
Distribution of the textbooks in Nyeri County was also delayed as most Heads of institution remained in the dark over the distribution schedule.
A spot check by Education News confirmed that most school heads had not been briefed on the procedure of distribution, and hence no school had received books by the time of going to press.
Textbooks distribution in the rest of the country however was rolled out as scheduled to allow education programmes to run smoothly. For instance, County Director of Education for Bomet, Beatrice Atsiago confirmed that all the schools had received the books and assured that education programmes would run smoothly.
The distribution of books was made as the State Department of Basic Education released Sh29.5 billion for Free Secondary Education. The National Treasury released Sh13, 361,469,446 for tuition with each child getting Sh5, 122; while Shs15, 651,858,000 went towards operation with each learner being allocated Sh6, 000.
In a circular dated January 3rd, 2018 addressed to all senior Education officials in the ministry, the Acting Director-General, Robert Masese stated that a portion equivalent to the cost of the six core-course books has been recovered from each learner towards payment for the books under the tuition vote item.
“Schools are expected to acknowledge receipt of the grant by issuing official receipts to the Principal Secretary for each of the two vote heads followed by receipts to each student for the capitation after they have signed the form to be attached to payment voucher as per accounting procedures,” states Masese.
In a related development, the Government has spent a whopping Sh7.5 billion on printing and supplying textbooks. Standard Seven to Eight pupils each will get four books, namely English, Kiswahili, Science and Mathematics.
At the Secondary level, all students will receive six core textbooks, namely English, Swahili, Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry.
States Masese: “All schools are expected to adhere to the fees guidelines as detailed in the earlier circular on implementation of Free Day Secondary Education. For avoidance of doubt, all National schools and Extra County schools in Mombasa, Nakuru, Nairobi, Kisumu and Eldoret will charge Shs53, 554. Any other boarding school will charge Shs40, 435.”
Meanwhile, Masese has alerted the Secretary/Chief Executive of Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Nancy Macharia and the Director – School Audit Services of the disbursement of Free Day Secondary Education funds and textbooks distribution.