Retrogressive cultural practices, overstretched learning facilities, shortage of teachers and lack of friendly structures for pupils with disabilities are some of the challenges undermining the free primary education programme now in its 11th year of implementation.
Education officials and stakeholders who had converged at a Nairobi hotel informed the National Gender and Equality Commission, that the gains made by the Free primary education in the last decade stood to be eroded if some of the challenges are not urgently addressed.
According to the ministry of education, access to basic education stood at 5.9 million children in 2003 but the figure has almost doubled in 2014 where it stands at 8.9 million children. “ the upshot of this is that classes have been overcrowded and teachers unable to cope with the increased pupil population” said a ministry official.
Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda said the high number of pupils in the class had overstretched learning materials including textbooks where on average 3 pupils share one text book as opposed to each child having their own. Ndunda also decried the lack of accountability in managing the FPE funds saying that some school heads were misappropriating the money.
The revelations came as the government tabled its 2014/15 budget estimates in which ksh. 13.5. billion shillings have been allocated to the FPE programme and Ksh 2.3 billion for the recruitment of additional 5000 teachers. A similar amount will cater for the school feeding programme while Ksh 400million will go to providing sanitary towels to girls in schools.
The forum facilitated by the Commission sought to establish the extent to which equality and inclusion principles have been mainstreamed within the provision of free primary education programme in the country.
Photo Caption: Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda makes a contribution.
NGEC informed of FPE challenges