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Daily Nation : February 7th 2014
10 | National News DAILY NATION DEVOLVING EDUCATION Friday February 7, 2014 EDUCATION | Debate rages over the role of county governments in provision of education, but leaders interviewed agree that Counties demand to be allowed to build Regional governments understand the plight of schools better, governors say BY NATION TEAM email@example.com the face of dwindling resources to finance the sector. Education remains the domain G of the national government but debate rages that counties have a role to play nonetheless. The governors argue that the least the national government can do is to hand over the infrastructure function, whereby the regions would be responsible for ensuring schools have the facilities they need. Provision of school facilities has always been the preserve of the community, argue the leaders. The Education ministry has a kitty for infrastructure development in schools. Nairobi Governor Evans Ki- dero has said education must be cascaded in totality to the counties. On Wednesday, he convened a forum that brought together stakeholders in education in the city county to discuss the challenges in the sector. During the forum, it merged that lack of infrastructure was the main problem that had impacted negatively on the quality of education. The forum brought together Nairobi County officers, educational experts, senior Education ministry officials, school managers, teacher’s representatives and political leaders. The participants Sh128m The amount that the goverment allocated for infrastructure development in schools overnors have called for more roles for county governments in education in raised concern over the state of schools. They said inadequate classes, dilapidated facilities, lack of space to build schools, inadequate teaching staff and textbooks were a major challenge to learning. Dr Kidero said schools in Nai- robi were in a deplorable state and challenged the participants to come up with solutions. He disclosed that 70,000 pupils were not in school, a situation he said was worrying and needed immediate attention. The head of the directorate of basic education at the Education ministry, Ms Leah Rotich, said the government had set aside a measly Sh128 million for infrastructure development in all schools in the country and appealed to county governments to allocate some of their resources for developing infrastructure in schools. Too little “The amount we have is too little and it covers so much from emergency development of schools swept by the floods to flagship projects,” she said. “We would have great results if the county government put in some money.” Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani said infrastructure development should be left to the counties as no single school in his region was built by the government since independence. “It has always been the re- sponsibility of either the parents, non-governmental organisations or churches to develop schools in Marsabit County,” he said. Narok Governor Samuel Tunai asked the national government to devolve education saying the sector could only be restructured by regional administrations. He stated that national gov- ernment had failed to address problems facing schools in rural areas. “In Narok, we want to develop the education sector through creating ideal structures and learning conditions that will be favourable to the students,” he said in a telephone interview. His government only wanted to improve learning conditions by BACKGROUND Law outlines roles of governments The Constitution (the Fourth Schedule) outlines the functions of the national and the county governments in education. National government: The law says it is responsible for education policy, standards, curricula, examinations and the granting of university charters. Universities and tertiary educational institutions are under its mandate. Further, it is responsible for promotion of sports and sports education. County governments: The Constitution has mandated them to be in charge of preprimary education, village polytechnics, home-craft centres and child care facilities. building classrooms and improving the infrastructure. In the county, many public schools lack proper classrooms, forcing some learners to study under trees. Mr Tunai said he had sought approval from the controller of budget to divert Sh600 million meant for bursaries in the county to construction of classrooms. Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat called for transfer of all education functions to county governments, which he said understood the problems facing learning institutions. Handle infrastructure Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua said his government would be comfortable to handle the infrastructure function of all learning institutions in the region. He said the national gov- ernment had not been able to sufficiently provide educational infrastructure. The county governments, he told the Nation by telephone, were aware of the needs of their learning institutions hence the need to empower them to develop schools. Kwale County executive committee member in charge of Education, Mr Mangale Chiforomodo, supported the call that the national government should devolve the infrastructure function. Speaking to the Nation by phone, he said county authorities were better placed to handle the responsibility. “I think we are already running out of time because the national government was supposed to sort it out right from the beginning,” he said. “As I speak, I have received over 200 requests from parents who want their schools to be constructed.” Kilifi County Education ex- ecutive officer Salma Muhiddin, speaking at her office in Treasury building, Kilifi Town, said that education devolvement would be the only way to ensure pupils in public schools enjoyed qual- ity education like those in private schools. “If the whole education sector is devolved, it will be easy for the county government to employ good and qualified teachers that will guarantee good performance in schools,” she said. In the North Rift, leaders have said counties were better placed to take over infrastructure development in schools, which they claimed had for long been ignored by the national government, leading to poor performance in examinations. Audit institutions “While the national government can retain managing of school curriculum, the county government understands how lack of adequate infrastructure and learning materials has been affecting schools at grassroots level,” said Mr Daniel Chemno, the Uasin Gishu deputy Governor. He explained that the county government would audit learning institutions and, with the national government and development partners, facilitate expansion of classrooms to accommodate FILE | NATION Moi High School Kabarak students celebrating past KCSE results. Governors have called for devolution of school infrastructure provision function to the counties, claiming the national government has failed to provide adequate learning facilities.
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