By LUCAS BARASA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Monday, May 16 2011 at 14:41
Posted Monday, May 16 2011 at 14:41
Thirty schools are to be promoted to national status in a Sh700 million programme aimed at improving enrolment and ensuring national cohesion, integration and unity.
Each of the schools would get Sh25 million to expand classrooms, dormitories and laboratories to create 6,000 more Form One places in national schools next year, up from the current total of 4000.
Education permanent secretary James Ole Kiyiapi unveiled the new schools on Monday before retreating to a closed door meeting with the institutions principals, board of governors, Parents Teachers and Association and sponsors to see if they accepted the promotion to national status.
Only one school in Nairobi, Pangani Girls, is to be elevated as is Garissa High in North Eastern.
Rift Valley which as Eastern got the lion’s share will have Moi Girls’ Isinya, St Brigid’s Kiminini, St Patrick’s Iten, Kapsabet Boys, Kipsigis Girls and Tartar climb up the ladder. In Eastern, Machakos Boys, Muthale Girls, Moi High School Mbirutri, Meru School, Makueni Boys and Chogoria Girls got the honours.
In Nyanza, sterling performers Maranda High, Kanga High, Nyabururu Girls, Asumbi Girls and Kisii High were selected while Lugulu Girls, Friends School Kamusinga, Kakamega High and Bunyore Girls carry Western’s flag.
In Coast, Kenyatta High-Mwatate, Mama Ngina Girls, Bura Girls and Ribe Boys are the Ministry of Education favourites.
Kagumo High, Murang’a High and Karima Girls’ filled the Central Kenya slots.
The schools will provide 3240 new places for boys and 2,670 for girls and would only get the Sh25 million to be factored in budget to be read in June if they agree to construct extra streams.
Prof Kiyiapi said at Kenya Institute of Education grounds that the schools were selected for posting good results in national examinations and for being endowed with resources that meet the criteria for national schools.
The PS said 30 more would be promoted next year to bring the number of national schools to 94 with each county having two each in next four years. Currently there are 18 national schools.
He said the government wants to ensure all students accessed quality education, improve transition rate from primary to secondary and promote national unity and cohesion.
Some leaders in various parts of the country had however rejected the promotion of their schools to national saying it will reduce number of residents joining them and that local communities had invested a lot in them.
But on Monday, Prof Kiyiapi disagreed, saying the promotion would increase number of students from all parts of the country wanting to join national schools.
“The policy is introduced in good faith. It is good for the country. This will enable young Kenyans to interact together in pursuit of academic excellence. We want to give Kenyan children a chance to know their country. We should look beyond village standards and think national,” the PS said.
The PS said the government will next year also change the current quota system of provincial schools which sees 60 percent of students coming from the districts, 35 percent (provincial) and only five percent national.
“We will shift it slowly until we reach a nice mix. We will not disregard community investment and sense of ownership. We want heterogeneous population of children in all our schools so that we can demystify tribal blocks politicians are creating,” the PS who was accompanied by Education secretary Godia, said.
Prof Kiyiapi said the schools will have same standards of quality education and having more national ones will promote competition.
The PS said most of the national and provincial schools have huge idle land which should be used to expand classrooms to accommodate more students.
He said that the government which usually asks students to work hard should meet its part of the bargain by providing them places in good schools when they do well.
Mr Godia said even the deployment of teachers should reflect national outlook and that they should be ready to teach anywhere in the country. Prof Kiyiapi said the government plans to transform teacher training colleges to diploma ones to improve on quality.
He put the shortage of teachers countrywide at 61,000 adding that those employed on contract basis will be employed permanently next financial year. The Ministry has further asked for money to employ a further 10,000 teachers.