Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following three Motions:- INTRODUCTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES REMUNERATION BILL THAT, cognisant that the local authorities lack the capacity to pay salaries and allowances to councillors; conscious that poor remuneration leads to lack of morale and poor self-esteem which hampers service delivery; this House grants leave to introduce a Bill for an Act of Parliament entitled the Local Authorities Remuneration Bill to fix the salaries of mayors, deputy mayors and councillors and for the purposes incidental thereto and connected therewith. A BILL TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION TO LIMIT AGE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THAT, noting that the Constitution provides that a person shall be qualified to be nominated for election as President if they have attained the age of 35 years; aware that an upper age limit is not provided for; this House grants leave to introduce a Bill for an Act of Parliament to amend the Constitution of Kenya to make a requirement for a person not to be more than 65 years to be eligible for election as President. A BILL TO AMEND THE PENSIONS ACT TO RAISE RETIREMENT AGE OF PUBLIC SERVANTS THAT, aware that the law provides for retirement from the Civil Service at the age of 55 years; further aware that the Parliamentary Service Act provides for retirement of staff at the age of 60 years; this House grants leave to amend the Pensions Act, Cap.189 to provide for retirement age of 60 years to all civil servants and to make provision that upon retirement, an officer shall not be eligible for re- appointment, re-engagement nor extension of service. 2572
asked the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation:- (a) whether she is aware that there are six health facilities in Ijara District, namely, Korisa, Ruga, Jalish, Bodhai, Sangole and Handaro that were constructed using public funds under CDF; (b) whether she is further aware that four of the six facilities have not begun providing services to Kenyans while the remaining two facilities are managed by UNICEF staff on short-term basis; and, (c) what urgent measures she is taking to ensure that these facilities are operational.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware that six dispensaries in Ijara District, namely, Korisa, Ruga, Sangole, Handaro, Jalish and Bodhai were constructed using public funds including the CDF. (b) Yes, I am aware that out of the six dispensaries only two, namely, Handaro and Korisa, are currently operational. The nurses who are working in the other four dispensaries resigned citing hardship conditions in the area. (c) My Ministry is in the process of sourcing for nurses to deploy to the facilities. We have also initiated the community health strategy, whereby community health workers under the supervision of the Community Health Extension workers from the Ministry will be providing basic health services. We have also made arrangements for the provision of essential medical supplies to the facilities through the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Assistant Minister for that answer. Unfortunately, I do not have the same written reply that he has read out. I have a different set of answers.
Mr. Assistant Minister, is that the position; that the answer that you have furnished the hon. Member is different from the answer that you have read out?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this Question was asked sometime ago and we gave an answer then. The new answer should have reached the House.
Very well! Mrs. Noor, when were you supplied with that answer?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I was supplied with this answer before we went for recess. I did not get the new answer.
You have not received a new answer?
No, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Order, hon. Members! Mr. Assistant Minister, this subject has been ruled on previously by the Chair not very long ago. The answer that the hon. Member has should be in agreement, fully, with the answer that you read in the House. If you have not done so, I will defer this Question to tomorrow afternoon. You must make sure that the answer the hon. Member has is in full agreement with your answer. Otherwise, you stand to be penalised by the Chair.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will do that. October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2573
asked the Vice-President and Minister for Home affairs:- (a) whether he could state the capacity of Kenyan prisons; (b) what the current population of prisoners in these facilities is; and, (c) what steps the Government is taking to ensure that prisons are decongested.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The available capacity of prisons countrywide is 16,886 inmates. (b) The population of prisoners as at 30th May, 2008, is 47,585. (c) My Ministry is taking the following steps to decongest our prisons:- (i) Building of new prisons. Over the last two years, the Ministry has constructed the following new prisons: Rachuonyo, Mwingi, Vihiga, Nyamira, Migori and Makueni. All these prisons, with the exception of Vihiga, are now operational and have inmates. (ii) Construction of new wards in existing prisons is another approach that we have taken. (iii) My Ministry is further encouraging agents in the Criminal Justice System to strengthen non-custodial sentences to decongest our prisons. Given the current population of inmates in our prisons compared to the capacity, you can clearly see that there is serious congestion in our prisons. The system of non-custodial sentences ensures that offenders are either on probation or on community service order as an alternative to serving full jail terms. Last year, 34,709 offenders served the community service order and a further 11,817 served probation sentence.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is clear that prisons in this country are handling almost three times their capacity. This problem is compounded by the fact that suspects are kept for a long time before their cases are heard in court. Inmates are dying---
Can you, please, come to the question, hon. K. Kilonzo?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I agree, but I just wanted to give that background!
You have had more than sufficient time to lay the background for your question! Ask the question!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what urgent short-term measures is the Ministry going to take to ensure that inmates do not die in prisons and at the same time are not released before they have faced justice?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the House will remember that, immediately after the strike by the prison warders, I gave an undertaking that I would come back to this House with a report. I am in the final stages of preparing that report so that we can honour the word that I gave before this august House. Some of the issues that the hon. Member is raising will clearly be elaborated. In the meantime, I have had occasion to visit very many prisons and, indeed, I want to confirm what the hon. Member has just said. There is serious congestion in our prisons. I visited the Thika Prison and the number of the remandees is unacceptable. This is because whenever they went to Maragua for the normal weekly or fortnightly sessions with the magistrates to either take the plea or for the mention of their cases, in certain cases, the magistrates were unavailable. Therefore, congestion in our prisons is a matter that we are taking very seriously as a Ministry. Within the framework of the overall reforms that we propose to do in our prisons service, I am sure that this House will be satisfied with the steps that we will be taking. After all, we intend to come back to the House. 2574 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to the third part of the answer by the Leader of Government Business, he says his Ministry is encouraging agents in the criminal justice system. What form does this encouragement take? Does it mean that they are undermining the independence of the Judiciary because the sentencing policy is a judicial function to which the Executive arm should never be involved in? Is the Leader of Government Business not admitting that just as they are doing with respect to performance contracts and the taxation of the Judiciary, this is another method of interfering with judicial independence in this country?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my learned friend and Member for Imenti Central knows that I would be the last person to ever imagine, leave alone attempt, to interfere with the independence of the Judiciary. I can bring to his attention the fact that I have received communication from Justice Omolo of the Court of Appeal who has been specially mandated by the Chief Justice to begin to meet with our officers and to understand what has been clogging the administration of justice; in particular the matter of having so many inmates with appeal cases pending for inordinate lengths of time. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am sure my learned friend will appreciate that we are not in any way attempting to undermine the independence of the Judiciary. The matter of signing performance contracts by judges is obviously a separate issue and I think he is entitled to have his own interpretation. When we trace non-custodial sentences and the need to be able to give community orders, it is basically as a consequence of what the courts would have done. At no stage will this Minister interfere with matters that are pending before court.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, going by the records, we realise that it is not possible for the Government to construct new prison facilities at this particular time. Is the Government thinking of hiring out these facilities from private developers in order to decongest the prisons?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very pleased with the remarks by my old schoolmate at Kikuyu School. He is obviously thinking like a businessman. Within the general reform programme that we intend to take, I do not think that the House might feel that, that is unacceptable. He will be surprised that in a lot of countries even the matter of running of prisons is a private affair. We are not into that as yet but we will look at all these opportunities. I want to inform the House that our priority right now will be to ensure that we have sufficient housing for all prison officers who went on strike not so long ago. This is our priority within the stipulated reform programme that I have just referred to.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs consider constructing prison facilities in Trans Mara District because we have land set aside for prisons and people who are arrested for petty crimes are being taken to Kisii Prison which is over- congested? They usually return home when they are sick.
We had a similar problem in Meru. Just this weekend, I was able to visit Tharaka and the people of that constituency felt that, to move from Marimanti to Meru Town, a distance of about 40 kilometres, makes all the difference in terms of geography. So, a Tharaka who has been arrested and put in prison in Meru can very easily contract pneumonia because of the change of weather. Along those lines, we are prepared to look at the situation between Kisii and Trans Mara.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in this era where the Government is talking about Vision 2030, and we are also talking about strategic planning, could the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs give us a timeframe within which we expect, finally, to decongest the prisons in this country?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I thank Dr. Monda for that question. I want him to know that we are going flat out to achieve this, as a Ministry, within the framework of the reform package which I referred to. We do not have much time. In putting his earlier Question, Mr. K. Kilonzo alluded to possible deaths in prison cells. We want to do whatever it takes. October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2575 I have asked my Ministry to fully co-operate with Justice Omolo in trying to see what immediate steps can be taken to address the matter of decongesting our prisons. In the meantime, once in a while at the pleasure of the Head of State, a number of prisoners, who are petty offenders, get released. I know that whenever that happens, sometimes society responds negatively to them. I want to plead with my good friend, Dr. Monda, because I think there is a problem where he comes from because when we release some of these prisoners, then the Chinkororo out there take a different view and they say: "We want to punish you". It is against the law of natural justice for any individual to be punished twice.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. You heard the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs talk about Chinkororo . I do not know what that is. Is it Parliamentary parlance?
Mr. Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs, are you able to react to that?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that was with a light touch. In any event, I am sure Mr. Bett knows that there is a group by that name. It is only that he is sometimes afraid of facing up to them, but this is with a very light touch. The Member for Ndaragwa is chairing a Parliamentary Committee which is dealing with these groups. This House passed a Motion setting up a Committee that will investigate the activities of these groups. With regard to Chinkororo, it was with a light touch. We have some societal problems where, when prisoners are released and go home, the society out there refuses to accept them. We want to urge the society to appreciate that our business, as a prison service, is to correct the lifestyles of these Kenyans who happened to be on the wrong side of the law.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you have heard the Leader of Government Business tell us what they intend to do as a matter of policy. Inmates who are in prison are dying. Could the Government move with speed and use the Kenya Army and National Youth Service to ensure that prisons are constructed very fast so that we can ease this congestion?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think we cannot go that way yet; of using the army. It sounds alarmist. We now have a new Commissioner of Prisons along with the very able Deputy Commissioner of Prisons. Both of them have assured me that they intend to turn around the Prison Service within a maximum of three years. Let us give them all the support. As I said, we will come back to this House with this matter because I feel there is unfinished business. We all need to appreciate the condition in our prisons. I thank the Member for Mutito for bringing up this Question. I think it is a precursor, if you like, or an appetizer, to the kind of reforms that the Ministry will deal with.
asked the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports:- (a) whether she could state the number of youth groups and individuals who have received funds from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDP) through the Limuru Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme since its launch, indicating the amount received by each; and, (b) what measures she will take to ensure that existing businesses as well as needy youths without bank accounts, access these funds.
(Prof. Sambili); Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Twenty youth groups from Limuru Constituency have received Kshs50,000 each from 2576 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 the Youth Enterprise Development Fund through the Constituency Youth Enterprise Scheme. This component of the Fund only lends the money to youth groups. Youth in Limuru Constituency are also able to access loans as individuals, companies or as groups from the financial intermediaries partnering with the Fund and operating in the area. Mr. Speaker, Sir, another Kshs1 million was allocated to every constituency in the Republic, including Limuru Constituency, for onlending to youth groups. At the moment, the applications for these funds are being processed by the Divisional Youth Enterprise Fund Committee. (b) As for the measures that we are taking to ensure that the ongoing businesses of the youth as well as others by the youth that do not have bank accounts are able to access these funds, the Ministry is exploring the possibility of using more youth-friendly methods such as Postapay and M-Pesa to ensure that ongoing businesses, as well as needy youths without bank accounts, can access these funds.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Minister for a fair answer. Could she tell the House whether she is aware that the financial intermediaries she is referring to are actually diverting the youth from accessing the funds at small interest rates and showing them that their money is much more accessible at a higher interest rate of 10 percent?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the financial intermediaries that are working with the youth fund are 28 at the moment. These financial intermediaries are required to facilitate the youth groups to access these funds at an interest rate of 8 percent. They are not supposed to divert or mislead the youth to access their money. If there are cases like that, then the Ministry, which is currently evaluating the performance of the disbursement of these funds, will take that into consideration. The money by the financial intermediaries is for onlending. It is the onlending component of the fund which mainly works through these intermediaries which include non-governmental organisations, banks, credit co-operatives like SACCOs, and micro-finance institutions. Individuals can only access these loans from the Youth Enterprise Development Fund through these appointed intermediaries. If these intermediaries are misleading the youth, then we need to know. The individuals from Limuru Constituency who have been loaned money through the financial intermediaries are captured in the following data:- The male entrepreneurs that have accessed this money are 316 and they have accessed Kshs15,535,200. Five hundred and sixty groups of female entrepreneurs have so far accessed Kshs14,821,800. The total number of entrepreneurs is 876 and they have accessed Kshs30,357,000. It is the Ministry's deliberate intention to introduce the youth to mainstream financial services. I repeat again that if those financial intermediaries are misleading or blocking the youth from accessing that money, we would like to know. We will pursue the matter and take the necessary action. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Since the Assistant Minister in her Ministry has confessed publicly that the intermediaries are charging more than 8 per cent interest, what action are you taking against those intermediaries? Could you name the particular ones that are charging more than what should be charged?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that seems to be a loaded question. It is a different Question which I would like to be given and I will prepare the necessary answer. As for the information that has been said to have been declared publicly, I am not aware. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I just want to reiterate that the intermediary financial institutions disbursing the youth funds are actually not doing it. I would like the Minister to confirm how much money was given through the financial intermediaries. How much of that has October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2577 been lent to the youth, so that we know exactly if they are doing a good job or not?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have said, that is a different Question. But, next time, I will be ready to give this House all the details of the disbursement of that money not only in Limuru, but in all the constituencies in the country. So, Mr. Speaker, Sir, if that question is put properly, I will provide all that information. That is because hon. Members need to know the money that has been given through the financial intermediaries not just in Limuru, but in the whole country. So, I will give that information, if I am asked a proper Question.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in view of the fact that the Minister has said that she is not aware of what I am alluding to, would I be in order to ask that the Question be deferred to a later date?
Hon. Mwathi, can you repeat your question? The Minister seems not to have got it. Mr. Mwathi, what is your last question?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my last question was: Could the Minister, therefore, get more time to look at the answer because she says she is not aware of what I am alluding to? She wants to give a comprehensive statement here not only on Limuru, but on the whole country. So, the Question can come again and she can give all the details.
Madam Minister, on your own confession which is emphasized by the hon. Member for Limuru, you have given insufficient information. You require time to come up with adequate information. That being so, we will defer this Question to--- Is Wednesday next week fine with you?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that I feel I have answered the Question from the hon. Member---
Certainly not! From your own statement from where you stand now, you said: "If I was given more time, I would bring this information". You did not say that it was a different Question! You said that if you were given more time, you would bring the information. We want to give you more time to bring that information.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the information that I would like to give regards the distribution of money by the financial intermediaries, which was asked by the hon. Member for Igembe. I said that was a different Question and I am willing to give the answer to that Question. But I think that I have answered the Question from the hon. Member for Limuru. But I am willing to give the other information.
The Question is deferred to Wednesday, next week!
Next time you want to say you have answered the Question fully, please, say so!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Indeed, I will bring that information next week regarding the distribution of funds by the financial intermediaries. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
IMPROVEMENT OF ITEN-CHEBIEMIT -KAPSOWAR ROAD 2578 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008
asked the Minister for Roads:- (a) whether he is aware that the road from Iten to Chebiemit/Kapsowar (D329) is damaged by heavy traffic and becomes impassable during the rainy season; and, (b) when the Ministry will improve that road to bitumen standards. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not have any written answer.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware that the road is damaged by heavy traffic and becomes impassable during the rainy season. Because of that, the design and tender documents are ready. (b) The Ministry plans to upgrade the road to bitumen standard in the next financial year, Godwilling. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I do not have any written answer to this Question!
Mr. Assistant Minister, why did you not supply the written answer?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my apologies sincerely, if the hon. Member has not yet received the written answer. But I think I have good tidings for him; a good message for him!
Mr. Assistant Minister, you are under compulsion to comply with the Standing Orders! If you have failed to do so, then you must take the blame. You cannot transfer it to the hon. Member. The Question is deferred to tomorrow afternoon! Ensure that you supply the written answer in terms of the Standing Orders as they apply.
asked the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology:- (a) whether she is aware that fresh graduates from universities have difficulties accessing loans from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) to pursue post- graduate studies; and, (b) what she is doing to ensure that fresh graduates who wish to pursue post- graduate studies immediately after undergraduate studies are able to access HELB loans.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am not aware that fresh graduates from universities have difficulties in accessing loans from the HELB for post-graduate studies. The HELB awards loans to students pursuing both undergraduate and post-graduate studies in public and private chartered universities. The criteria for eligible candidates is as follows:- (i) There is no age limit, as long as the student will be able to pay the loan through the check-off system. (ii) Students will be expected to pay at 12 per cent interest rate per annum. (iii) A non-refundable fee of Kshs2,000 is charged for each application form. The ceiling for the loan is Kshs120,000 for undergraduates and Kshs150,000 for post- graduate students. To qualify, you should be pursuing either a Masters or Doctorate degree. Post- graduate loans are based on the students' ability to pay while they are in school. (b) The HELB loans are readily available to post-graduate students who meet the criteria and conditions as stated above. Other than the criteria and conditions, the loans are given without October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2579 any prejudice whatsoever to applicants who intend to pursue studies for Masters and PhD studies in public or private chartered universities.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Question is talking about fresh graduates who want to pursue Masters degrees. In his answer, the Assistant Minister has given the criteria for qualification to obtain the loans. One of the criteria is for the post-graduate applicants to be able to service the loans while studying. This is the real Question I am asking; that fresh graduates need to access the loans. We cannot talk about age limit and having them in gainful employment and yet they are fresh from school. So, what is the Assistant Minister doing to ensure that fresh graduates from universities continue with their studies as they look for jobs? We know that the country does not employ all the fresh graduates from universities.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the difficulties of awarding loans to all post-graduate students has to do with how much money is available even for the undergraduate students. Assume 1,000 students wanted to pursue post-graduate studies. The total cost would be Kshs300,000 per annum per student for four years, which would be about Kshs300 million for those students. So, in terms of equity, we would be denying many other undergraduate students an opportunity, and yet if you already have a first degree, you have a better chance of finding something to do compared to someone who has not already enroled in university. Secondly, we are thinking, in award of these funds, of a programme which will be supported by the Ministry, that will specifically target post-graduate students. We have to set aside some money, so that they do not have to "eat" from the money available for many disadvantaged undergraduate students. With regard to whether there is any money available for post-graduate students, yes, there are limited scholarships, which go to students who have a First Class or Upper Second degrees, but they are not many. So, we need to have a comprehensive plan without taking from the many undergraduate students who need support.
Last question, Dr. Monda!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has indicated that there was Kshs1.340 billion in the 2007/2008 Financial Year, and that in the current financial year, there is a further Kshs1.685 billion, which the Government has given to the HELB, which means there is continuous recovery of the loans and the Government is continuously giving further funding into the HELB. How then do we promote improvement of our education when the Assistant Minister says that we are limited in resources and yet there is collection? What is the transparency in application for these loans?
Very well! Dr. Monda, you have asked two questions already when your limit is one question! Mr. Assistant Minister!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am glad that we have continued to recover money from students, but I must also say that this is only a fraction. There are many students whom we cannot reach to recover these amounts of money. When this money is recovered, it goes back to the pool for undergraduate students. So, we are able to support a minimal number of students. I would like you to remember that we have now even opened the programme to students in the so-called "Parallel Degree Programmes". So, we have many more thousands of students to cater for than before. The more we recover, the more we will have to put aside for those students. As regards post-graduate students, like I said, we have to have a special programme. We are already thinking of a specific Vote for those students, so that as we think of the year 2030, we train as many of our graduate students as we can to be able to take up those places. We have not forgotten about them. We just have to set aside some money without discriminating against the majority of Kenyans.
2580 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 PLIGHT OF VIHIGA TEACHERS SACCO MEMBERS
asked the Minister for Co-operative Development and Marketing:- (a) whether he is aware that the terms of office for the officials of Vihiga Teachers Savings and Co-operative Society expired in March, 2008; (b) whether he is further aware that as a result, members' welfare issues, including loan applications, have not been attended to; and, (c) what action he is taking to save the members of the society from further suffering while ensuring that any misappropriation of members' funds by the officials is dealt with appropriately.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware. (b) Following the suspected embezzlement of the society's funds and subsequent deterioration of services to the members, my Ministry instituted an inquiry in accordance with Section 58 of the Co-operative Societies Act on 24th July, 2008, to look into the by-laws, the working and financial conditions of Vihiga Teachers SACCO. Mr. Speaker, Sir, a report on the findings was tabled to the members on 4th October, 2008. Consequently, the members dissolved their society's management committee and an interim committee of five members was appointed for a period of 90 days to implement the recommendations of the report. (c) I am aware that there were acts of omission and commission in the management of the society. Following investigations and the tabling of the report, my Ministry has immediately frozen all the society's bank accounts until the time when a new management committee will take over the management of the society.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to highly commend the Ministry, because when it came to the attention of the Ministry that this had happened, the Minister took action in the way the answer is being given. So, I want to highly comment the Ministry. However, there are two issues which need to be attended to.
Order, Mr. Chanzu! Can you ask your question? It is Question Time!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what action has the Ministry taken against the suspected culprits in this misdeed? The second issue has to do with the welfare and needs of the members of the SACCO, which include giving loans and assisting members to meet burial expenses and the like. What action is the Ministry taking to address these aspects as the new body completes its work?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will give one answer to the two questions that the hon. Member has asked. When the then management committee was dissolved on 23rd May, 2008, they went to court and obtained orders to restrain the District Co-operative Officer from interfering with the affairs of the society. Up to now, the matter is in court. We are waiting for that court injunction to be lifted. As I said earlier, our Ministry has gone ahead to freeze all the accounts of the SACCO. It is even better when the members' finances are safe than when we allow transactions to proceed before the court gives its verdict.
Is there anybody else who is interested in pursuing the matter? Last question, Mr. Chanzu! October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2581
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in the last part of my supplementary question, I sought to know what action the Ministry is taking to apprehend the suspected culprits.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, unless he did not understand, I have answered that question by saying we are waiting for the court ruling. They went to get a court injunction and we can do nothing until the court gives its ruling.
asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:- (a) whether he is aware that through privatization of Telkom Kenya and the Safaricom IPO, the Government has reduced its shareholding to less than 50 per cent; (b) whether he could explain the national security implications of putting the telecommunication sector in the hands of foreigners and private individuals companies; and, (c) what measures the Government has put in place to ensure that national security is not compromised in view of the foregoing facts.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I am aware that as a result of liberalisation, the Government has sold 51 per cent of the shares in Telkom Kenya to France Telkom, a strategic investor. This was done with the understanding that the investor will off-load 11 per cent of shareholding through an Initial Public Offer (IPO) during a planned stage two of Telkom Kenya restructuring programme. Mr. Speaker, Sir, during the IPO, the Government of Kenya will sell a further 19 per cent of shareholding to the public and 5 per cent to Telkom Kenya employees. Therefore, by the end of the restructuring process, the share standing will be as follows:- (i) France Telkom - 40 per cent. (ii) The Government of Kenya - 30 per cent. (iii) The public - 30 per cent. During the Safaricom IPO, the Government retained 35 per cent of the shares in the company while the public and Vodafone acquired 25 per cent and 40 per cent respectively. (b) As a result of the liberalisation, a large percentage of ownership in the Telecommunication Sector has been taken over by private ownership who are well placed to provide these services efficiently and effectively. However, the Government is aware that the telecommunication sector poses great challenge to the national security of any country and it is imperative that measures are put in place to ensure safe and secure communication. (c) Measures put in place to ensure safe and secure communication are:- (i) The Government will firmly implement the existing relevant legislations to address emerging security concerns as in the Kenya Communication Act (2) of 1998. (ii) The Government has sponsored the Kenya Communications Amendment Bill (2008) which will be tabled in Parliament soon and hopefully, if supported by Members will improve the safety of the telecommunication sector. (iii) The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) closely monitors and regulates the activities of telecommunication service providers and is mandated to take firm and decisive action 2582 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 to any service provider who operates in a way which is inconsistent to national security and safety. (iv) The Government has also put in place administrative measures which will ensure that security concerns posed by telecommunication service providers are addressed at different levels of Government.
Mr. Speaker, Sir this is the latest evidence that the Government is involved in mindless privatisation of public companies. The Assistant Minister admits that this has resulted into a threat to national security and that, he did this knowing that he would one day bring to this House a Bill that will protect the country and they would also one day bring an IPO that would correct an imbalance. The question then becomes; what was so difficult in them first of all changing the law before they sold the shares to France Telkom?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the question of liberalisation is a matter being dealt with by another Ministry. My concern and the concern of my Ministry is with regard to the security aspects. As I said, whether you are privatised or 100 per cent Government owned, there are already institutions that supervise the sector as per the laws in place.
Last question, Dr. Khalwale!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister does not seem to understand the meaning of national security. Even a junior officer in the army knows that as soon as you overthrow a government, the first thing you do is to take over the telecommunication system of the country. It is only five years ago when the former President of the United States of America (USA), Bill Clinton, came to East Africa and all our airwaves were jammed. It has those kinds of serious implications. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has said that the reason they gave France Telkom the shares is because they were a strategic investor. Why has he refused to disclose that after giving France Telkom he also gave shares to Alcazar Capital, which is a dubious company registered only seven days before the bidding for the privatisation of Telkom Kenya was completed?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think the first question is asking my understanding of security issues. The second question is with regard to privatisation. This can be answered by the other Ministry. However, on issues of security, if I do not understand them, I would do what I am not supposed to do.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. On both questions, the Assistant Minister has parried by saying the matter is being handled by a different Ministry. Could I beg that the Chair orders that the Question be taken to the Ministry the Assistant Minister thinks is best suited to answer it?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have no problem with that. With regard to the details of shareholding and how things were done, the relevant Ministry is concerned. But I do not---
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister, could you indicate which this "relevant Ministry" is?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Leader of Government Business, are you comfortable with the last supplementary questions by Dr. Khalwale being deferred for answers by the Ministry of Information and Communications?
Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker, Sir. When the House was on recess, I had the occasion to launch the Orange brand of Telkom Kenya. I am sure the Minister, Mr. Poghisio, would love to deal with this Question. It is a very important matter for this nation.
To that extent, the Question is deferred to Thursday next week!
October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2583
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Ethuro, that finishes with that Question, unless your point of order is on a different matter! If it is on the same Question, note that you will be treading on dangerous grounds.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is on the same Question but has a slight angle.
Order, Mr. Ethuro! That Question is finalised! Hon. Members the last Question by Mr. Kaino is deferred to tomorrow afternoon!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security on two incidents that affected my constituents on 26th September and 5th October, 2008. Mr. Speaker, Sir, on 26th September, five head of cattle were shot dead by a combined force of the County Council of Isiolo and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers in Shaba National Reserve. On 5th October, Administration Police Officers, under the instruction of the Provincial Commissioner, Rift Valley Province, carried out security operations in Samburu East District and forcefully took away 85 sheep and goats from Samburu in Sere-olipi area and drove them to Isiolo District. I wish to seek clarification on the following issues: First, why did the rangers shoot dead the animals, and who gave the order? Secondly, what action is the Minister going to take against the rangers and also to ensure that the owners of the shot animals are adequately compensated? Thirdly, could the Minister clarify why the 85 goats and sheep belonging to the Samburu were driven to Isiolo, and in whose custody are these animals now? Fourthly, could the Minister consider stopping the ongoing security operation in Samburu East and seek an amicable solution?
Mr. Assistant Minister, when will that Ministerial Statement be available.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will be able to give a Ministerial Statement on this particular issue on Wednesday afternoon.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I consider this to be an urgent matter; so, the Assistant Minister should respond to it tomorrow.
Mr. Assistant Minister, are you able to issue this Ministerial Statement tomorrow.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it will not be possible to do so tomorrow, because I have 2584 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 to gather information from the ground.
What about Tuesday afternoon?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I seek the indulgence of the Chair to give us up to Wednesday morning.
Very well; since information is necessary and that is what we are seeking to have, Mr. Letimalo, please extend that accommodation to the Assistant Minister.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, but the security operation, which is going on in the district should stop, so that we can know why the Government is targeting one community. It is very unfortunate!
Very well! The Ministerial Statement will be issued on Wednesday morning. Mr. Assistant Minister, can you inquire into other aspects and if necessary take action before Wednesday.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will go to the office and check what is happening in his constituency, and if need be, I will do something. CURRENT STATE OF KENYA RAILWAYS
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Just before the House went on recess, a Question had been brought here regarding the current state of Kenya Railways and the Prime Minister undertook to bring a Government response on what it was doing on the issue. So, I am here to seek your ruling on when that particular Ministerial Statement will be issued.
The Leader of Government Business, do you have any idea whether or not the Ministerial Statement is ready?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg the indulgence of the Chair, because I did not get what the hon. Member for Yatta actually asked, because the hon. Member for Ikolomani was talking to me. Could Mr. C. Kilonzo repeat what he said?
I got him. He indicated that the Prime Minister undertook to avail to the House a Ministerial Statement pertaining to the prevailing state of the Kenya Railways just before we went on recess. So, that matter is being revisited. Could we have the Ministerial Statement on Thursday, next week?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as the House knows, the Prime Minister is out of the country, but if the feeling of the Chair is for Thursday next week that is sufficient time; I think that will be in order.
Thursday next week! But Mr. Vice-President, the Prime Minister has two Deputies and the law allows him to delegate to any of those two. ISSUANCE OF DIPLOMATIC PASSPORTS TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I wish to seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs as to under what circumstances the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies Members of Parliament diplomatic passports. What is the justification for this, given that Ministers, Assistant Ministers and their spouses are entitled to diplomatic passports? The same are denied to Members of the National Assembly! Furthermore, Judges and their spouses are entitled to the same diplomatic passports. Could the Minister further confirm that the one branch of Government, known as the Kenya National Assembly rather than Parliament, which is the supreme October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2585 institution of the land, is subordinate to the other branches of the State, including the spouses of those office holders? When is the Minister going to issue a revised circular making Members of Parliament eligible for diplomatic passports in recognition of all the above? In the meantime, could he consider downgrading those Members of Parliament who already have diplomatic passports to ordinary passports?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you can give me two weeks.
Two weeks from today?
Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Ethuro, is that fine with you?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, two weeks to do what?
Mr. Minister, could you do that within ten days?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the reason why I am asking for two weeks is that part of next week I will be out of the country, and also my Assistant Minister is out of the country .
Next week is seven days away, and we are giving you an additional three days. So, ten days from today.
It is so directed! Hon. Members, note that we have exceeded our time by six minutes; so, the next Order will go until 6.36 p.m.
Who was on the Floor? Dr. Otichilo, you have four minutes.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to continue my contribution to his Vote. First, I would like to say that the Minister has done a good job, and I want to encourage him to continue that way. One area that I want the Ministry to look into is the Education Act. I have had a chance to go through it and I find that the Act is outdated. There is need to revise it so that it can address new challenges in education. Mr. Speaker, Sir, so, it is important that the Ministry looks into this matter. Going through the previous endeavours, I have noted that there has been an effort by the Ministry to introduce an Education Bill, which has not been completed. So, I would like to see the Ministry come up with a 2586 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 revised Education Act that is in line with the new challenges. The other area that I want to commend the Ministry of Education for is their intention to create new spatial data infrastructure for the education institutions. This is, indeed a novel idea. However, I want to caution the Ministry on the tendency to continue using consultancies to create spatial data infrastructure. I would recommend that the Ministry comes up with a capacity building programme, so that they can build their own capacity in spatial data infrastructure development. In this case, I would like the Ministry to make use of the relevant institutions that are available in this country. For example, the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development has very good facilities for training the staff to establish this infrastructure. Finally, I would also like to recommend to the Ministry to explore the possibility of coming up with new assessment examinations. The current examination system has a lot of problems, and I think it is important that the Ministry looks at various options. I would also like to request the Ministry to look at the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), and see how best it could be restructured to meet new challenges. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Vote of this very important Ministry. Allow me to begin by thanking the Minister for Education and the staff of the Ministry for the wonderful work that they are doing for this country. I know for sure that it has not been easy given that we had a lot of problems at the beginning of the year. Our children and schools had a lot of problems. I want to say that the Ministry of Education is very important because it takes care of our children. Any nation which cannot invest in its youth and children is doomed. So, I really congratulate the Ministry officials for the good work that they are doing. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to also thank the Government for the free primary and secondary education that we are now having in the country. I further want to thank the Ministry for the bursaries that we are getting for our children. I want to say that in my constituency of Kitutu Masaba, we have a policy that all orphans in the constituency are educated free. We pay 100 per cent of their fees courtesy of the bursary from the Ministry of Education. I am very grateful. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I really want to say that, recently, we had the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology going round working on the issues of strikes among our schools. I want to urge the Ministry of Education to seriously look into this matter together with the other Ministries so that we do not have our children going on strikes. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is about time that we teach our children to be patriotic. This is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Education alone, nor is it the responsibility of the teachers alone. It is even more the responsibility of parents. Parents have abdicated their duties of counselling and talking to their children. Until and unless we work together as a team, we will continue having those problems. We will start blaming our teachers and the Ministry. I want to say that it is important that parents also seriously take their role of counselling their children. I want to support one of my colleagues who said that the amendment of the Education Act is long overdue. That Act must be amended. We do not want to see every Tom, Dick and Harry meddling in the matters of education. Religious organisations have interfered too much in terms of October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2587 running of our schools. We want to leave that to the Ministry of Education so that our children can get education. We do not mind our children getting nourishment in terms of spiritual food. But we do not want them meddling in the matters of education. It has become so difficult, especially where I come from. Religious matters are interfering too much with the education of our children. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to say here and now that I have a problem in my constituency of Kitutu Masaba in terms of staffing. There are no schools in my constituency which have half of the teachers that they require. Most of the schools have less teachers. I know several secondary schools which are supposed to have 15 teachers and yet, there are five or four teachers. We cannot blame the Ministry of Education for that deficiency. I know for sure we have trained teachers. It is about time that this House and country funds the Ministry fully, so that it can employ enough teachers to teach our children. You cannot expect a school to perform when it has four teachers instead of 15 teachers. We have teachers languishing at home. I urge the Minister for Education to bring a supplementary Motion so that we can fund the Ministry, so that our schools can have enough teachers. I am sure every Member of Parliament will be willing to support that because, if we cannot invest in our children--- Our children are everything. They are our future. They are the future of the nation. If we cannot invest in our children, then we have a problem. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is an important thing and I would like the Minister for Education to take note so that we fund the Ministry fully, so that we can have enough teachers. I can name several schools in my constituency which are experiencing staffing problems. Schools like Bowendo and Gesure are supposed to have 16 to 17 teachers and yet, they have two to three teachers. How do you expect them to perform? They cannot perform! Yet, we spend so much money on other issues and things which are irrelevant. This is the Ministry that we must fund. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want also to address the issue of teachers salaries. I think it is important that the Ministry reviews teachers salaries vis-a-vis other civil servants. I think this is one of the countries which pays its teachers the poorest. Even most of the African countries pay their teachers well. Until and unless we pay them well, you cannot expect them to perform. So, I want to submit here that we need to review our teachers salaries. We do not want them to go on strike and then we start negotiating. We want to be reviewing their salaries together with the rest of the civil servants. They are very important and they do a very important job for this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to say that our principals in several schools must be trained on managerial courses, so that they can be accountable and run schools in the right way. I think it is important that we take them for in-service course or other courses so that our principals who are the returning officers in those schools, are able to manage the finances of our schools properly. The Ministry has to do something about the officers who inspect our schools. If we cannot give those officers transport to inspect schools, you cannot expect them to do any work which is credible. So, I want to suggest that the Ministry looks into that kind of thing and give transport to those officers who do inspection in our schools. Apart from that, I just want to say that there are also many private colleges and institutions which train students in different subjects. I want to ask the Ministry of Education to ensure that whatever they train in is in line with the Ministry, so that we have standardisation of different courses that are done either by Government institutions or private institutions. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to finish by commending the work that has been done by officers of the Ministry and tell them to continue. I wish to tell them that they have a noble duty to do for this country. As I have said, we must create an environment where our children can learn well. We must encourage our children to dream to be anything that they want to be, so that they can believe in the beauty of that dream. They can be anything that they want to be, if they work hard and play by the rules. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this 2588 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 opportunity to support this Vote. I want to join my colleagues in congratulating this Ministry in the manner in which it has handled its affairs. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to commit myself that the officers in this Ministry are accessible and they respond when issues are brought to them at all the levels. I want to ask them to keep on doing so because if they stop, then this country is going to come to a standstill. It is incumbent upon them to continue improving their role in this country. I also want to thank the Minister for the way he has steered the Ministry forward for the period he has been there. I would like to start by talking about the issue of shortage of teachers, particularly in the Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) areas. Many a time, in this House, we have heard that the schemes of service are produced by the Directorate of Personnel Management (DPM). They have ended up marginalising the ASAL areas, particularly northern Kenya. That is happening just because we do not have a pool of manpower which is qualified to fit in the description that the DPM has set up in terms of the scheme of service. So, you can see the relationship between what the Ministry does and the job market. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think there is need for a very serious debate to be initiated by this Ministry, particularly on the issue of qualifications for admission into Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs). I know that there has been an argument whether we should or not start with those who are qualified so that we can turn around performance in our primary and secondary schools. However, I think we are missing the point when we exclude a whole province or region just on that basis. Ultimately, the excluded regions will not produce candidates who are admissible into our TTCs! So, there is need to review this matter. The critical thing, in the first place, is to make that qualified manpower available. It is the responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that quality manpower admissible into our TTCs is available. In all fairness, you cannot insist that you must have these qualifications in order to come here and then at the end of the day you exclude an entire region. In fact, it borders on criminality as far as I am concerned in terms of how we address matters that affect the people of this country. Perhaps, related to that, I am happy that the Ministry has embarked on an exercise of e- learning. Maybe the physical availability of teachers can be sorted out through e-learning. I hope they will now give preference to the ASAL areas where we have shortage of teachers. I can assure you that in some of our schools, children just play around. You cannot expect them to enforce discipline in that kind of situation. You cannot expect those who are playing around in the compound to perform like others because there is nobody to occupy them. They sit the same set of examinations. This is a very fundamental matter and we must get to the root cause of this problem. We should address it at that level so that every Kenyan is afforded equal opportunity. When it comes to e-learning, I hope that instead of starting from the centre, we will start from the periphery so that those areas are given preference with a view to addressing the issue of lack of materials and the shortage of teachers. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, also related to that is the issue of inspection. You cannot ensure that there is curriculum delivery when there is nobody to supervise that. Fine, at the level of headteachers and the like, they could be enough. However, even after the recruitment of school inspectors, there is still inadequate supply of those officers, particularly in the arid northern Kenya. Even with the Free Primary School Education Programme, where is the audit? You have only one auditor to cover a large area! How many books is that person going to audit for all those primary schools? I know the Ministry could be in the process of addressing these things, but these are matters which are very critical. Funds have been released and it is absolutely necessary and, in fact, a requirement for the Ministry to do whatever it takes to ensure that those funds are utilised properly and that appropriate and timely audits are carried out. If they will be able to do that, I hope nobody from other quarters will be telling them that it is too expensive to employ auditors. If they fail to audit the usage of those funds, it will be extremely expensive for them. October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2589 In most of these remote areas, the officers are not properly facilitated in terms of reliable motor vehicles. The only vehicle that I have in Garbatulla District is already broken down. I have to give the DEO a lift every now and then for him to reach some of the schools. It is an urgent matter. If a DEO cannot move, how do you expect that Ministry to function? There is only one vehicle there! Matters of this nature need to be addressed so that we do not end up condemning innocent Kenyans by saying that they are always at the bottom. It is not their fault that they are at the bottom. It is us who are responsible and we must address this matter effectively. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, examination standards are very key. We have had problems at the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). The Ministry has tried to address those problems. That is one thing that can bring this country to a stand still. A lot of manpower has left this country and found employment in other countries because there are no boundaries when it comes to persons with skills. However, when there is negligence in the KNEC, then that whole system is undermined and doubts begin to be cast on the kind of certificates that we award. It is a very serious matter. You can now see how sensitive and fundamental this Ministry is. That is why all the professors and all hardworking officers in this Ministry need to do extra homework so that we get what is required of them. It is the same reason why capable persons have been deployed to this Ministry. Therefore, we do not expect mere perception from them. This Ministry is so central. It is just like a patient being taken to a surgeon. The operation has to come through right otherwise it is a very sensitive matter. So, the same is true for this Ministry. It is important that it is given the attention that it deserves. As Parliament, we have always given support to this Ministry and I am sure hon. Members are ready to extend the same whenever that request is made to this House. You must have read in the media about ranking of our universities. It is an extremely important issue. That matter should not be taken just like any other report. We did very poorly. I hope that report is reliable. If that is not the case, nobody has come out to deny that, perhaps, we rank too low. In fact, it was only the University of Nairobi which appeared somewhere close to where it is supposed to be. Other universities did not appear anywhere on the list. We do not intend to have universities just for the sake of it. They are mushrooming all around us. The Commission for Higher Education must do what is required of it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute. Like those who have spoken before me, I would like to congratulate the Minister for Education and his staff for doing a very good job under very difficult circumstances. This is a Ministry that I think takes care of more employees than most ministries put together in this country. There have been major crises. I think it has been tough but they have handled them very professionally. I would also want to commend the Minister for being very fair in the way business is done at that Ministry with regard to recruitment of teachers, allocation of bursary resources and many other things that we have seen during the last Parliament. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry has had to address major challenges recently like the school strikes, issues of holiday tuition, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), cheating and so on and so forth. Often, we go to the Ministry as a solution to all these problems. Often, we forget that the biggest solution will actually lie outside of the Ministry. That our students are behaving just like they see us behave. The reason there is so much drug abuse, violence, tribalism and even incidents of corruption and mismanagement in our schools is because that is what our young people see everywhere. So, it is not enough to just say that we have to introduce a curriculum in peace education. This is okay and it is good for the consultants who got that. That will get us nowhere as long as we have many leaders in this Parliament and Government who are tribalists. 2590 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 Unless we solve that by getting them to preach peace and national unity, it does not help how much we tell our students. It is not enough to talk about teaching morality, discipline and so on if whatever our kids see outside school is immorality all over the place. So, it is important for us to realise that a solution can lie beyond the Ministry and that as Members of Parliament, we have a major responsibility because we are the ones elected by the people. We are the ones out there to talk to parents, religious leaders, but more importantly, to lead by example when it comes to issues of corruption, immorality, tribalism and so on. Unless we solve that, then we might as well forget it. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of education, as somebody said, is so important because it gives all of us hope. It is the only hope. I think many of the people in this Parliament and those who made it before, should give thanks to education given the kinds of backgrounds that they came from. So, it is important that we continue to give, as many Kenyans as possible, hope and that hope is not going to be believed. We are going to continue to be living a lie if we are going to tell young people that because they have free primary and secondary education, then they can achieve the best in this country. We need to pay particular attention to the majority of the schools where our young people are going to. Our public schools, in spite of the heavy investments by the Ministry, continue to be disadvantaged because our system is very elitist in terms of selection. This is so that although we give an opportunity to hundreds and thousands of young people at the primary school level and even day secondary schools and so on, we have a situation where we have so many calls but few are chosen, like they say in the Bible. Few are chosen to enter the best schools, degree programmes and even join university. So, therefore, we need to go beyond that and see what best we can do to ensure that we go back to the situation of the 1960s and 1970s when, indeed, the majority of those who went to the best institutions and universities came from schools that represented the majority in terms of the numbers of the students that were in them. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, equipping is okay and the Ministry has to be recommended for supporting schools that are specially disadvantaged especially in arid and semi- arid areas. But we have to look at the selection criteria or system that determines who goes to secondary school, university and to do what. I say that because I think somebody spoke about a scandalous situation in terms of employment and so on. For me, the greatest scandal in this country is a situation whereby the majority of the kids or 70 to 80 per cent of the students who come out of 10 per cent of the institutions end up taking the best places. It is about resource and grades but I think we need to find out a more regular way of evaluating who proceeds from one grade to another. It is okay to go to Mars but that is a simple way of doing it. You get grades like "As", "B pluses" and so on. That is all. So, we need to have other criteria. Are we able to measure other traits? If you are good in drama, sports and so on, is that considered when it comes to your going to university? In terms of discipline, how come that we have a lot of indisciplined kids making it and the problem of indiscipline is in our institutions? It is because we do not consider that as an important criteria in terms of judging the kind of students that we want to proceed from one level to the other. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also need to ask questions like: If you are admitting to university, is it really fair to compare a student for a medical degree who came from a day school to one from Alliance or Mangu High School? At this rate, are some district schools and day schools ever going to have engineers, doctors and architects? If that is not possible and we know those are the areas that are rewarding, what kind of criteria can we come up with that is much more original and that looks at the kind of school that you came from combined with your grades, gender and region of the country? In other words, we are telling the Ministries of Education as well as the one of Higher Education, Science and Technology to begin to think of more original criteria for determining the students who go to the best secondary schools and universities and especially to October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2591 do specific degree programmes. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would also like to speak on the matter of supervision. I begin by congratulating the Ministry for doing a great deal to recruit more supervisors, quality assurance people, District Education Officers and so on. I call upon the Ministry to also ensure that as we create new educational districts, we provide them with enough resources so that they are well placed to be able to compete with the more established districts. I know it is a challenge. It is a matter of resources but I think we need to do much to ensure that even at that level, we can support competition. There is also the issue of delocalisation. I think it is high time we went back to the old days when a principal of a school did not have to come from the same constituency or districts where they were born. The people who managed schools really well in the 1960s and 1970s were actually missionaries. They came from Europe, America and all sorts of places and maybe it is because they were detached from the local environment that they did not have many more interests other than to be real missionaries of our institutions. If civil servants can be posted anywhere in this country, why is it so difficult to rotate our school principals to be able to manage schools anywhere in this country as long as the positions they are given are commensurate with their positions? Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this should also apply to teacher recruitment. I know the system of teacher recruitment is locally based and that is good because it targets those areas that have been disadvantaged in terms of the number of teachers in those particular locations. However, is it possible to combine both a system that looks at the disadvantaged districts and constituencies with a system whereby where you are recruited has no bearing and does not mean you will be posted in the same area so that we can recruit from areas that are disadvantaged? This is because maybe they did not have enough teachers recruited but do we have to send them back to the same locations where they are recruited? So, let us recruit from those remote areas but let us send them across the country and I believe delocalisation will be seriously addressing the issue of tribal clashes in this country. If we had primary school teachers teaching in parts of the country where they were not born and school principals managing schools wherever they are and university vice-chancellors, then such problems cannot arise. It is a terrible situation because university chancellors also tend to come from the areas where the universities are allocated. If we have that, then I think Kenyans would be much more conscious in terms of beginning to attack members of other communities because their role would be all over the country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I agree that we should take the issue of teacher remuneration seriously. I think we should reward them although we should be aware that more than 80 per cent of our budget goes to teachers' salaries. If we do that, then we are going to convince our teachers to spend more time in our public schools because many of these teachers are also spending a lot of their time in academies doing private tuition and so on. If the teachers are going to be paid more, we need to request them to also spend more time in their schools. I know they are supervisors sponsored by the Ministry but there are many schools in this country where teachers report way after 9 a.m. and depart from school before 3.00 p.m and also where heads of schools who do not come from the areas where the schools are located report on a Monday or Tuesday and go away on a Thursday. I have a particular problem with the District Education Officers (DEOs) in my home area. They show up on Tuesdays and by Thursdays, they are headed home because they do not come from that location. I think we need to be more stringent on that. As much as we are recruiting many of these supervisors, we need to do enough to make sure that they are, indeed, spending as much time as they are paid for in the institutions that they are posted. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if we address the issue of selection criteria and it becomes evident that you can come from a public school, go to a national school and then 2592 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 university, we will begin to have faith in our own public institutions. So, actually, in the long-term, we will have many more schools that our parents want to take their children to, so that we can reduce the pressure on Alliance, Mang'u and other national schools. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the chance to support this very important Motion. Let me join my colleagues who have spoken earlier in confirming that this Ministry has really done a lot in the last six years. It has really tried its best to accelerate the levels of education in our country; from primary to secondary. But there are still some challenges that need to be addressed. First, there is issue of Early Childhood Education. When the Minister was moving this Motion yesterday, he talked about an increased budget - almost five-fold - and even the increasing of training centres from about 4,000 to 8,000. That shows that there is going to be high production in those institutions. But the challenge is that we are training so many ECD teachers, but we are not absorbing them at the community level. I would actually urge the Ministry to come up with a system of employing those nursery school teachers. That is because education in primary and secondary schools is both free and partially free, respectively. You cannot join a primary school without going through the ECD system, which is not free. I think we are going to make things difficult. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Ministry is so important that over 50 per cent of the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) money has gone into education through the provision of physical infrastructure. That is what I call the hardware part of it. But the Government has to supply the software, both in terms of staffing and the working tools such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is high time that the Ministry introduces ICT in all our public secondary schools. In that regard, I would kindly inform the Minister that we have built very many secondary schools using the CDF money in all our constituencies. We have built them in the very remote areas where there is no supply of electricity. So, this Ministry should ensure that, at least, there is electricity supply in all our public secondary schools, through the provision of solar systems, so that students in those schools can actually compete with their counterparts in urban and town centres. The provision of energy through solar system can assist us in ensuring that ICT is also taught in those institutions. It will also help in the laboratories and libraries. Those students who do not have electricity cannot actually do much even if we build those institutions. We are trying to go down to the very rural areas where secondary schools are not available. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think every hon. Member who has spoken has actually talked about staffing. We are talking about staffing because of the very uneven distribution of teachers in this country. You will find that a student in Loitokitok cannot actually compete with the one in Nairobi, because their working environment, tools and facilities are very different. That brings us to the issue of performance contracts for the teachers. I do not think we can have uniform performance contracts for all the teachers in this country. Their working and performance targets cannot be uniform because their working environment, tools and facilities are totally different in this country. You cannot tell a teacher in Nairobi who is teaching in a school that has no shortage of even a single teacher to have the same performance target with a teacher in the Arid and Semi- Arid Lands (ASALs), where there are only four teachers in a school that requires over 12 teachers. Even the facilities that they use are very different from those used by those in urban areas. So, when it comes to staffing, I really want to agree with my colleague who has just spoken, Dr. Mwiria, on the issue of delocalization. But when you delocalize--- Because right now, the set-up of teachers' recruitment is actually district based--- They are being recruited by the District Education Boards (DEBs). One of the qualifications is that you must come from that district. I must congratulate the Minister for October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2593 Education for laying on the Table of this House, a list showing the shortage of teachers in all the districts in this country, just before we went on recess. That translated to the allocation that we were given as districts. You can be given an allocation of about 40 teachers as a district, but you cannot raise them just because the same criteria was not used when the teachers were being recruited to join teacher training colleges. Nowadays, they are not only having the issue of a minimum of Grade "C", but they have also embarked on a system called computerisation, where you forward the names from all the districts, but they are selected using a computer system at the headquarters. You will find that after doing that, most of the districts in this country are left without sending a single student to a teacher training college, despite the fact that they have some who have attained a minimum of Grade "C". So, I would ask the Minister to reconsider that computerised system of selecting people who join teacher training colleges, and make it district based. That way, Loitokitok, for example, we are sure that even if it is that Grade "C" - even though we are pushing for the grade to be lowered for ASALs - we can be given an allocation of 40 to send to teacher training colleges. When it comes to recruitment, and we are given the 40 slots, we can be sure that we can get all of them from that district. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of monitoring and evaluation has to go with mobilisation. If the DEOs do not have the facilities to actually reach those schools--- Some of the schools are located deep in the rural areas. There is no way the DEOs can actually embark on quality assurance. So, I would like to ask the Ministry - even if it is difficult to allocate vehicles to all the DEOs in this country - to allocate, at least, motorbikes for all education inspectors in every division. Every one of them should have that motorbike for mobilisation. I want to talk about the issue of bursaries. Now that we are having free or partially free secondary school education, the transition rate from primary to secondary schools has risen. So, let us try and see whether we can double that. On the issue of measuring the performance of teachers, we should not do it only through performance contracts. I think there is another way. My proposal is that to ensure effectiveness in that school, let us come up with a system that will ensure that no teacher should teach a particular school for more that five years. Then you actually transfer them within that same district. There is nothing wrong with that. We have seen some cases where a teacher has taught in a particular school for over 20 years. I think it becomes business as usual and the productivity falls below standards. So, I request that we come up with a system that we will empower the District Education Officers (DEOs) to reshuffle teachers, and not only principals, to ensure that you can teach in every school for a specific period in a specific district. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the issue of teacher training colleges, I would like to kindly ask the Ministry to take into account the arid areas and, at least, ensure that half of the arid districts have teacher training colleges. Seventy per cent of this country is arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). However, when you try to count the number of teacher training colleges in this country, 70 per cent or more are in urban areas and that locks out students from arid areas from accessing very important education. We said that one of the pillars of the Ministry of Education is "access to education by all". With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to support the Minister for Education and his staff and congratulate them for a well done job so far. It is important for the House to note that quality education is expensive, and whatever allocation that has been given to the Ministry is, to say the least, inadequate. However, we may not have enough funds to give our country the best education we can afford, but we need to appreciate what the Government and the Ministry are doing towards all sectors that are relevant to the Ministry of Education. However, there may be need to make a few remarks. One of the areas that we need to address to get that kind of quality education we are looking 2594 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 for, is to make sure that the Quality Assurance and Standards Officers are adequate, properly trained and are facilitated. There is no need to come up with a superb curriculum and good facilities, while we cannot have people to do the job. There is need for the Government to support the Ministry of Education in that area. It has been an issue for many years. If you cannot get quality assurance officers to schools, then you have a problem in getting good results. Again, we have the problem of accountability in our schools, especially the secondary schools. Officers may wish to audit schools but there is a shortage of auditors and we need to facilitate them. If you go to most of the provinces, the auditing of books is in arrears and we may not catch up. We need to support the Ministry, and we may need more funds in the next financial year to do that. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is also another important area that this country is addressing like every country, and that is education for all. Currently the Ministry is doing their best but a lot has to be done. Maybe, the leaders need to get to their areas and see what is happening, because as you travel around the country, you still find in some of our districts, many children loitering in shopping centres and markets; they are not in school. How then do we achieve education for all? I think the Ministry needs support from all of us; all leaders, religious and community leaders, need to get our children to schools. I would probably suggest that the Ministry should liaise more closely with the Provincial Administration, the Chiefs and the Assistant Chiefs, to help us get our children to school. You wonder why these children are still out there, when each child gets over Kshs1,000 for teaching and learning materials. We need to look into that and support the Ministry, if we want to achieve education for all. There is also another area that, maybe, the country, and our leaders, should support the Ministry on, and it is early childhood education. Some of our areas in this country have not got up to early childhood education programmes. We need to support the Ministry and help these children get the basics before they get into primary schools. There is also the aspect of the free secondary school funding. Congratulations for doing something, Mr. Minister, but there is still need for improvement on the management of those funds. I would also like to congratulate the Ministry because of providing some funds for infrastructure. Some of our schools in the rural areas are needy. The classrooms have fallen down, the floors need repair, there are no toilets in some of those areas and we need to support the Ministry and get the primary schools, at least, reasonable infrastructure so as to provide quality education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we need the Ministry to come up with an admission policy. What happens when children are being admitted to Form I? Other secondary schools need to be streamlined with regard to maintaining good discipline. I think principals, DEOs and Provincial Directors of Education should guide boards of governors on admission policies. Distribution of Form I places in some of the disadvantaged areas needs to be given consideration. It is good to look at the academic performance, but we also have pockets of poverty all over the country, and these areas need attention if there is going to be equity. The staffing issue has been discussed by all hon. Members who have spoken, but I would like to recall that there were days when this country posted P1 teachers nationally. This is important for us, and we request the Minister to look into this matter. I do accept that we do not have enough teachers. We have enough trained teachers. The distribution and funding are what is important. Why would you expect a semi-arid area that has had no students who qualified according to the requirements by the Ministry to go back and teach those poor children? Why is it not time that we, Kenyans, became nationalistic and got these P1s right from the beginning posted nationally? Some of the areas will keep on getting academically poor teachers, just because there is this aspect of tribalistic practice of posting teachers to where they were born. They were born in Kenya and it is high time we changed our IDs to read "Kenya". Some of the teachers who have been trained, and October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2595 on whom parents have spent a lot of money, are still at home. Why do you not post them nationally and ensure that those areas that have no teachers get enough teachers to teach our children. They are all Kenyans, irrespective of where they were born. Those pockets of poverty need consideration. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we also need to look at the training of graduate teachers. Is it the core subject that they take more time on when they are at the university, or is it the methodology? We need the content! I think it would be better if we had to assess the kind of training--- If you take an example of somebody who is going to teach Biology and Chemistry, how much time does he or she spend at the university doing the core subject, so that he or she can deliver when you post them to a secondary school? I think that is another area that we need to look into; it is important because the performance of our secondary schools needs to be improved. The other issue that we, probably, need to look into is the teachers' salaries; this has been mentioned severally. There is need for harmonisation of teachers' salaries with salaries of civil servants. It is taking too long to do that! Take the case of principals of our secondary schools. Maybe, it is time we started posting these principals and creating substantive posts for them. Now, they are deployed, but are they committed enough when they compare themselves with the same civil servants posted to their areas? Again, on the training of principals, a lot needs to be done on human resource management and financial aspects. What they are trained on is inadequate. We need to train them more and, again, we need to emphasise that we need managers. We need our education institutions to be managed well. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to support one of my colleagues who spoke about role models. I think most of our secondary school students look upon us, leaders, as role models. How do we behave? I think it leaves a lot to be desired when our students look at us and see the way we behave when we are not in our places. For us to consider education successful, we need to support the Minister in areas of staffing and the provision of learning and teaching materials. There is no need of putting up very beautiful classrooms when there are no teachers, adequate learning and teaching materials! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we need to look at schools development. Some of our secondary schools in some parts of our country are too close. They are not cost-effective. I think there is need to put some together. I think we need to convince our communities that there is need to have good secondary schools, where the teachers will deliver. Cost-effectiveness in the management of our education should be looked into. Let us not start clan secondary schools! That will not help us a lot. Some of our students will still get poor services because of lack of teachers because of inadequate distribution. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we need to support the Ministry. Our leaders should support quality facilities. If they do that, we shall be able to move forward. We shall provide quality education for everybody in this country. Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the Vote on the Ministry of Education. First, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to congratulate the Minister and the entire Ministry officials for the good work that they are doing in the Ministry. I do want to join my colleagues in appreciating the manner in which the Ministry has actually implemented the Free Primary Education Programme, the success that it has realized and the progress that it is making to offer free secondary education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, a lot has been said which I do not wish to repeat. In fact, I just want to make a few comments and wish to confine myself to my own constituency. Samburu East Constituency, which is now an independent district - it is one of the newly created districts - is one of the most marginalised districts in this country. That is due, particularly, to the 2596 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 peoples' cultural lifestyle. It has the highest illiteracy and poverty levels. All those factors affect the standards of education in the area. The poverty levels are actually attributed to high drop-out levels in the district, and also poor performance in national examinations. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, considering that the community practises nomadic pastoralism which, by itself, has got some detrimental effects to education--- That is one region that is prone to drought. The pastoralists are forced to move with their livestock in search of water and pasture. In the process, it is natural that parents cannot leave their children behind; they have to move with them. So, in the process, they end up abandoning learning. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to appeal to the Ministry that there is need for boarding schools in such regions. I want to propose that, at least, there should be one school in every location that has a boarding facility, just to ensure that in the event of difficulties like drought, the childrens' education will not be affected or compromised in any way. They will be able to be retained there because, at least, they have a place to stay. Otherwise, if they will be commuting from home to the day schools for instance, then, certainly, during such difficult times, they will accompany their parents when they move about in such of water and such-like resources. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, boarding schools need also to be registered because I did not know that, with the proceeds of the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), a boarding facility can be built. But it cannot necessarily be registered. Therefore, it will not qualify for government stores like food. I really want to commend the Minister and the Permanent Secretary because I made that request. Upon application by the District Education Officer (DEO), my constituency was given. Now, we know that, at least, four schools have settled down because the boarding sections in those schools have been registered and, therefore, they are now qualified to get Government stores like food and, therefore, learning is not affected. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this may sound to be a surprise to this House, to the Minister and the Ministry officials. But in Samburu East District, we still have areas where schools do not exist. We do not have a single primary school! I would like to mention the names so that the Minister and his officials do not say that I am playing politics, and that they can confirm these details from their officers on the ground. A place like Lorokonyiki - I know the name may be difficult - is a full sub-location with more than 5,000 residents and not a single school! In fact, there is not even a nursery school there!
Just think of it! We are talking about 45 years of Independence! You can quote me on this one. I am talking about Ngare Narok Sub-location. The building that is there is owned by the Catholic Church and, therefore, it is converted into a school. So, Mr. Minister, you know that if the building is owned by another organisation, certainly, they will be running their own activities and, therefore, they disrupt learning at their own will! I mean they must be on time so that they can carry out their services. I am talking about Ngare Narok. I think that is a simple name. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my request to the Minister is that, although the CDF is giving priority to education through the construction of schools in the constituencies, the ones that I am building--- I mean, once a school has been built, whether it is a classroom or two classrooms, it needs to be registered, so that it is able to qualify for services like allocation of teachers by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). So, if that priority could be given by the Ministry, then I am sure we will be able to solve most of those problems. I also want to make an appeal to the Minister. I know there is always the scarcity of resources, particularly when you talk about vehicles, to enable education officers to carry out their responsibilities and duties accordingly. When it comes to the allocation of resources, I wish to appeal to the Minister to consider the newly created districts and more so, the marginalised areas like Samburu East. October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2597 I do not want to talk about admission to teachers training colleges, because this matter has been discussed a lot. There is only one thing we are emphasising on, which is that upon completion of training, teachers should be posted back to the areas from which they were recruited to ensure that they are retained there. When you post teachers to schools away from their home districts, chances are that they will always request to be transferred to their home districts. We are not necessarily being tribalistic, as my colleague has said, when we ask for such consideration. That is the only reason for such a request. After all, we must accept certain facts. There are places where whole sub-locations do not have schools. It is possible to build a school at one given time, but not everybody will be able to endure the hardships in those areas. It is only a person who has been born and brought up in such an area who will be able to endure such kind of hardships. That is what we are trying to say. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, lastly, it is also important that the Ministry considers allocating scholarships to students from Samburu District when opportunities arise. I know that this may not necessarily be within the Vote of this Ministry. This may have a lot to do with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, but it is equally important that I raise the matter here. I remember that when I asked a Question in this House and sought to know how many candidates from Samburu District have benefitted from Commonwealth scholarships in the last ten years, the response I got was that not a single one. One cannot rightly say that Samburu District does not have qualified persons despite the fact that the rate of illiteracy is high. I think there is favouritism in the allocation of scholarships to students. So, I want to request the Minister that when opportunities of this kind come, he should also consider people from remote areas because that is another way of encouraging others to pursue further education. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Hon. Members, given the very many hon. Members who want to contribute to this debate, and considering the fact that I will be calling upon the Minister to respond at 5.06 p.m., I request that if I give you a chance to speak, please, do not take the entire 10 minutes. Otherwise a lot of people will not get a chance to speak. Mr. Ethuro, you have the Floor.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. I want to commend the Minister for running this Ministry quite effectively. Even his performance from the Floor of the House is good. Whenever we asked Questions, we have always been very satisfied. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Permanent Secretary (PS) and his team for doing a good job. As one of my predecessors used to say, education is a great equaliser. Education is like democracy because, as you know, this democratic House affords us an opportunity, as sons of peasants, to meet with the sons of kings. I have had an opportunity to meet with such fellows, and I told them that my father has no address, but their fathers have addresses. It is only because of education that we have a common address along Parliament road!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to commend the Government for spending a lot of resources to promote education, particularly as a commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG No.2 is Universal Free Primary Education. To that extent, this Government needs to be commended for a job well done. However, the largest room is that for improvement. 2598 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 In my view, the Minister and the Ministry messed on a very fundamental issue when the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) could not add up figures, and even up to now, not a single head has rolled. This Ministry is only promoting and encouraging a culture of impunity and irresponsibility, especially, the people who are managing the academic affairs of this country who could not add up figures. That should be enough reason for a few heads to roll, and roll fast. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, recruitment of teachers, particularly in the ASAL districts, is completely opaque to the extent that when we get a chance to recruit a few teachers, somehow, we take all of them. There is also another formula that is being used, which must be made very clear to Kenyans. Just because I graduated 20 years ago, I am awarded more marks than a fresh graduate from a teacher's training college. It was not my fault that I did not go to school. It was not my fault that in the 1970s, the Government built all the schools to the so-called "high potential areas". This discrimination must come to an end. This issue has not been that big because the officers on the ground have been a bit understanding and sympathetic to the kind of situation that obtains in some of our constituencies. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am happy to speak when the Minister for Public Service is listening. We need to look into some of this criteria, which requires that even for people to be employed as chiefs and drivers, they need to have university degrees or diplomas or an "O" Level certificate. Turkana Central District has 50,000 children who should be in school but are not in school. What steps is the Minister taking to ensure that children who are supposed to be in school go to school? My modest suggestion is that the School Feeding Programme (SFP), because those are arid areas which are prone to drought, must ensure that there is sufficient supply of food, which is provided in a timely fashion before the beginning of a new term. We have had cases where schools open before food is supplied to schools. That has really discouraged children from going to school. We have 15 children of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in a Lodwar camp. The Minister needs to give a special allocation for such persons. He has included in his report that he is going to enhance these kind of areas, and that trickles down to where we come from. The Kshs800 million bursary allocation has always been extremely helpful. I hope that the Minister is going to increase that amount to cater for more districts and more children joining secondary schools. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in another area, the Ministry is living a lie. The Ministry issues guidelines on the annual fees to be paid in public schools per student per annum, but each of us here, including the Ministry officials who send their children to those schools, know that the fees levied by national schools is three times the amount indicated by the Ministry in its guidelines. They should remove these lies and tell us that the fees chargeable in national schools is Kshs100,000 per annum, which we know is not for children of ordinary Kenyans, but for sons and daughters of privileged people. While the Government gives Kshs10,000 per child for free day secondary school, schools are increasing the fees chargeable. With such Government support and subsidy, I would have expected secondary school fees to come down. It is extremely important for the Minister to ensure that his officers actually look into what is happening in schools, so that the Government's well-intentioned policy of subsidising secondary education is not in vain. We come to this House and make all sorts of statements about free secondary education as school administrations increase school fees instead of reducing it by, at least, the margin of contribution by the Ministry. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, Turkana District does not have a single District Education Officer (DEO); or rather, the Turkana community does not have a single district education officer. They do not even have a mere staffing officer. When the Minister looks at me, does he not think that he can get more qualified people to help him manage the affairs of the Ministry? Even with the creation of the new districts, thus, increasing the total number of districts to 150, how can we fail to get one Samburu DEO, one Turkana DEO on the basis of affirmative October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2599 action? Of course, we are qualified. We are not pleading for mercy. We have people with postgraduate degrees and undergraduate degrees, who can easily give services to the Minister. I can trust him with pastoralists with their elegance and egalitarianism, who can perform so well on the job that he cannot believe. It would, as per excellence. I hope the Minister will bring to the Floor of this House a Nomad Policy. I want to commend the Ministry because although the Policy is in draft form, I urge the Minister to accelerate it. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to join my colleagues---
Waziri, please, be mindful of others. There are three to four hon. Members who want to make contributions but we have run out of time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, within the short time, I want to say that when the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, intelligence is randomly distributed throughout the country and the world. The only difference is how you develop the human resource. Education is the major source of inequalities and continuing inequalities in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, investment in education is certainly long term. If it were me, having observed the manner in which the Minister for Education, his Permanent Secretary and several officers are working so hard to make things possible when they are impossible due to constraints in resources, I would have recommended the budget for this Ministry, big as it is, to be increased by 30 per cent. Why do I say so? Kenyans love education but the results are now showing that in any great city in this world wherever you go, you will find Kenyans who went there because of their education. When you look the remittance Kenyans bring back to Kenya, it is because we were able to educate them. Now that we have free education, we should do a good job without any fear. Resources should be found for this Ministry so that the results can be seen. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, teacher shortages and even the allocation of teachers based on classroom sizes--- Teachers should be posted based on the number of students, even if they are going to be taught under trees. The teachers should be paid and a standard should be developed for teachers to perform in accordance with. We saw a ridiculous basis of posting additional teachers proportionately based on shortages. This means that if a district already had 97 per cent of its requirement and was only short by 3 per cent, it still gets a proportional share of the additional teachers posted. This is one place in which we need your intervention. First, bring the whole country into equity as far as teachers are concerned. If the shortage is 20 per cent nationally, it should be 20 per cent in all districts. However, you allow recruitment but some districts continue to be below 60 per cent of staff provision. Others that were already 80 per cent provided for are still getting the extra out of the shortfall that is employed. The objective in allocating additional employment of teachers should be first to achieve equitable distribution of teachers in accordance with the number of children enroled in the schools. If you are going to provide 70 per cent of the teachers requirement, it should be 70 per cent throughout the country not 90 per cent in some districts and 60 per cent in others. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the other area is the management skills amongst head teachers. There should be a very clear curriculum and basis of promotion to be a head teacher after one has passed a certified course to be able to manage schools. This is not only to manage children but also manage colleagues; the other teachers. I think that area is still lacking. My Ministry is willing to work together with the Ministry of Education to give teachers the managerial skills necessary to be managers of schools. Right now, teachers want to be promoted to be head teachers but the capability to manage others is lacking until we polish those skills. 2600 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 I think the Ministry should do a little more and be given more resources to support the development of physical facilities on the basis of some clear affirmative action. The Ministry knows where action is required but there are constraints. This means that the inequality continues throughout the country in the very eyes of the administrators of our education system. There should be a basis of getting additional resources so that equity can be enhanced in the promotion of education. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, there is a rush to turn a number of middle level colleges into universities. This may be a dangerous trend and the Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of Education must agree on how far this process should continue in the country. We are absorbing teacher training colleges as if primary education does not matter and as if quality in teacher training does not matter. I believe that a lot more should be done on that. With regard to salaries, I support harmonisation of teachers' salaries with those of civil servants as a priority. That should be covered under the current negotiations before we talk of any other increases of teachers' salaries. The figures involved may be large but priority must be given to education in this country. Kenyans have proved that through education, they are able to work in every Ministry in South Africa, every department in Namibia and several in Sudan. Teachers' salaries must be provided for and let that priority be heard. I beg to support.
Mr. Minister, I am going to request you to give your two minutes to the Assistant Minister for Lands so that I can allow Dr. Eseli, Mr. M'Mithiaru and Mr. Washiali three minutes each to contribute.
Mr. Bifwoli, you will get time to contribute from the Minister's time! Dr. Eseli, please, proceed!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was wondering whether my luck had run out today. However, thank you for this chance to contribute to this Motion for the Ministry of Education. I would like to add my voice of tribute on my own behalf and the Constituency of Kimilili in Bungoma North for the good work the Ministry is performing in this country. You are performing a very good task but you are up against very difficult people in this country. This is to the extent that they have loaded your schools with too many children because the family planning system has virtually failed. So, you have very many children to provide for. To add insult to injury, they have actually provoked your students into rioting by setting bad examples in the last one year by burning tyres all over to get their way. When the children followed suit, they formed a Commission of Inquiry from Parliament to investigate the obvious. We gave them the bad example which they followed. They rioted in sympathy with us. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would just like to mention that, Professor, you taught me very well in school and I believe you are going to do a good job in the Ministry of Education. However, you are up against a very difficult population. These are people who would rather build churches than schools. Actually, right now, there are more harambees for churches than those for building schools which is very unfortunate. I think we need a change of thinking amongst our people. You need to rise up and strike a blow against tribalism in this country. The education system has contributed to tribalism in this country, to the extent that a child born in Kakamega will go to primary school in Kakamega, high school in Kakamega and university in Kakamega and even study up to Doctor of Philosophy in Kakamega; that fellow has never ever seen a Mkamba! He or she has never seen a Turkana. What he hears are stereotypes! Can you remove that thing at the end of Standard Eight, so that children can be distributed randomly by computer, if necessary, so that October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2601 they can go to school all over this country? Rise up and strike a blow against tribalism in this country. The other thing that we could do---
Your time is up!
Thank you for that short time.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, first of all I want to commend the Ministry of Education, the Minister and his team for a job well done. I know that there are constraints, especially in finances, but they have tried. Although they have tried, its about the challenges now. Education for our youth is an investment. It is an investment that must be costly, whether we like it or not. What we are looking for in school is performance and quality. Unless we have teachers in schools to teach the children, we will not be talking of performance or quality education. I have a case in point. In my constituency, most primary schools, Standards I, II, III and IV have about 120 children each. When, sometimes, there is no teacher at all to teach them, it becomes a terrible problem, especially because of their tender age. If the children are not prepared education-wise, then we are breeding people who will not give quality service to this country. So, when we say that the Budget for education is the biggest and we should slash it--- If possible, it should even be doubled. What we are doing is investing in our children. These are the people who will take care of our industries and other services in the future. If we do not prepare them properly, then we will actually be doomed. I am saying that we cannot compromise on this, and the Ministry must ask for more money because it has to employ more teachers. Another point is the Day Secondary Schools that we have today. In my constituency, we have about 12 Day Secondary Schools, with Form I to Form IV classes, but they have only one Teachers Service Commission (TSC) paid teacher, the Principal. The rest of the teachers are employed by parents and sometimes they cannot afford them; you can see that those employed do not have the requisite knowledge to impart to our children. So, it is an issue that we cannot compromise on. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, another issue is that Igembe North is classified as an arid and semi-arid district. In some schools which are near roads, teachers are paid hardship allowance, while in others, which are far away from roads, teachers are not paid this allowance. I appeal to the Minister to have the hardship allowance paid across the board, if a district is classified as arid or semi-arid. Today, most of the children are not able to enjoy their childhood, because every evening they carry a load of books to go and study. I would like the Ministry to look into that issue and see how they can lessen that load to ensure that children are all-rounders in terms of academic work, extrar-curricular activities and also in the enjoyment of their childhood. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my name is Mr. Otieno Ogindo, Member of Parliament for Rangwe. I think you are both generous and at the same time mean to me, because you have given me the chance, but it is very limited. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to start with the teacher to pupil ratio. According to the figures I have, the enrolment is about 9.5 million at the primary and secondary levels. When I contacted the TSC, I was told that they have about 249,000 teachers. That ratio works out to about one teacher to 35 pupils. That is not the case in my constituency, as I know it. I wonder where this discrepancy is. The second thing is about the teachers' pension. I think it is time the Minister worked in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the Minister for Labour, so that we can establish a contributory pension fund for teachers. I know of teachers who retired over a year ago and they are still making trips to Nairobi and back. They spent their pensions in advance in form of borrowed money to come and chase the same. 2602 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 Last but not least, I think the Minister needs to pursue a more vigorous education policy. It defeats me to understand why our neighbour Uganda, which has a population of about 30 million people compared to ours of about 36 million people, is able to afford universal primary and secondary education, yet in Kenya we are struggling with a tuition-sponsored education programme. I think it is time, if we want to invest in education, we seriously thought of adopting the same policy on free and compulsory basic education, from nursery to Form Four. I believe that re-arranging the budget of the Ministry of Education is possible.
Mr. Ogindo, the Chair does apologise for confusing your name. It is now the time for the Minister to respond but I understand he has donated some time to Prof. Kamar, and I also requested that the Assistant Minister for Lands be allowed sometime. Mr. Minister, how much time are you giving Prof. Kamar?
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you Mr. Minister for giving me two minutes to contribute to this very important debate on a Ministry in which I was resident for over 20 years. This is the Ministry that I believe is working and has the right experts. I want to congratulate them for their foresightedness in the things that they are doing. I have only three points that arise from education for all. When we talk of education for all in this country, we must practise that. There are a few things that I would like to urge the Minister to pay attention to: First, is the issue of marginal areas. Which areas are marginal? We need to really look at them, analyze them according to development and even consider the distribution of teachers. I have two locations in my constituency that border Marakwet and Keiyo, which are marginal. When teachers think of going to those two locations, they would rather go to Marakwet, because they will be given hardship allowance; so, mine are the most deserted locations. Again, that means that we need to look at the policy on transfer of teachers. Why are teachers being transferred out of marginal areas? I have a school which has four teachers and another one has three Government teachers, because of transfers that were effected. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, another issue is the Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is a welcome move, but I ask myself: How many schools have electricity? Recently, we were informed of solar energy being used in Turkana, but how many schools have them, so that we can talk of equality of education, because all students are going to be assessed equally? We must think about that, and the Ministry must pay attention to it. The other issue is that of tuition. We know that there is a difference between private schools and public schools. If the Minister's submission is that public and private schools should continue with their tuition, because they have very many ways of doing it--- In fact, in some cases they use the public schools' teachers to implement their tuition. What happens is that we continue to receive students from rich families in our universities. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, what happens, and they know it because they have been professors in the universities themselves is that, we continue to receive only rich students in universities. That is because the tuition that takes place in private schools obviously means that the results that come from private schools are better than those of public schools. We have the very problem that hon. Ethuro has been talking about since morning; that Turkanas have been marginalised systematically. We may not be doing it consciously, but if our policies do not capture some of those issues, it would destroy us. So, I think the Minister should rethink and have a team to investigate exactly what we mean by tuition. What we are saying is that we are all happy if there is no tuition because our kids can play and relax. But if that is going to be done in an imbalanced way--- We know that the computerised admission system in the universities draws a line against a map. We are going to leave out the poor and very soon, the universities will belong to the rich. With those few remarks, I beg to support. Thank you, honourable Minister for your generosity. October 8, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2603
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I take this chance to thank you for recognising that I have been a teacher for the last 30 years, and spent most of my life in teaching. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, when we talk about education, we are talking about making a human being. Making a human being means developing the mind, the body and the soul. To develop the mind, the teachers are supposed to teach the child, and they must be motivated. They must be well paid. They must have a good environment. The child also must be in a good environment. This is the reason why some of us are saying that telling teachers to sign performance contracts, is just not possible. I want to tell the Minister to forget about teachers signing performance contracts because it is not possible. They may sign it, do the schemes of work and lesson plans, but they will not teach. That is because what you want is the signing of the performance contracts. What is that? Secondly, this is the Ministry that can make this nation by producing people who are patriotic. How are people going to be patriotic if a teacher, as Dr. Eseli has said--- A child learns in Bungoma, is trained in Bungoma and is employed to teach in Bungoma. You want that man who has lived in Bungoma throughout his live to be patriotic and national. This Ministry has the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). The TSC should employ teachers nationally and post them across the country so that they can balance. This idea of teachers being employed by District Education Officers and Boards of Governors--- Some people who are illiterate cannot interview teachers who have gone to school for 12, 14 or 20 years! It is wrong for a teacher to be interviewed by somebody who has never gone to school! You are killing the morale of teachers. People do not even wish to be teachers. It is sad to be a teacher these days because you are interviewed by somebody whom you know failed his or her exams. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I also want to talk about Form I admission. Form I admission must be done nationally. Finally, I want to thank the Minister and urge him to recruit and employ Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers. This Ministry should be given more money than it has been allocated. With those few remarks, I support the Motion and urge the House to give the Ministry more money.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me, first of all, from the outset, thank the hon. Members for making very positive contributions towards both the Recurrent and Development Vote of the Ministry of Education. We have studiously taken note of the concerns of hon. Members. All my officers are here in this House from the Permanent Secretary to the sectoral directors of various institutions. I think they can feel the tempo and vibrations of this House. Therefore, I want to thank you for standing with us in running a very difficult and challenging Ministry. We are never short of problems. We are never short of chaos when they erupt. But, at the same time, we are very glad that we have such a dedicated group of people who are able to deliver and burn the midnight oil to serve Kenyans diligently. I want to pay this special tribute to my officers because I think they have done it. I think they deserve a clap from this honourable House.
There are issues that have been raised by hon. Members. Whereas I may not be able to touch all of them, some of them were covered in my budget presentation. Others will be covered as we subsequently debate many other issues in this House. Hon. Bifwoli who has been here - he was the last speaker - talked about teachers not signing performance contracts. He has been a teacher for 30 years. We are simply saying that performance contracting is a measure of an individual to deliver the tasks that have been set before him or her. We are not asking them to sign any written 2604 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 document. We are just simply saying that the scheme of work, where they are the leaders in the performance contracting world, should be improved on. They should be able to tell us how best they can deliver the curriculum, given the odd circumstances they operate in. After all, they have been operating successfully. Performance contracting or doing the schemes of work effectively will help them, in fact, to boost their own personal knowledge and satisfaction because teaching has certain levels of satisfaction. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, on the question of Education for All (EFA) as raised by Prof. Kamar, we had that in mind. Hon. Ethuro raised that question earlier. We are, as a Ministry, concerned about the marginalised areas and pockets of poverty in our urban centres. We are very much concerned about those areas. We also know that when we started free primary education, enrolment figures rose from 5.8 million to 8.2 million. We are clear that there are about 1.5 million children who are out there in some of those pockets of poverty that you have ably brought to our attention. One of the ways we can address that imbalance is actually for local Members of Parliament to work as stakeholders with the Ministry of Education to bring out those issues clearly to our attention, so that we can address them. We have local officers on the ground. They have a detail and a brief that one of the areas that they must look at is to re-dress the imbalance that has existed in our educational system vis-a-vis in terms of opportunities and equality. After all, Vision 2030 states very clearly that apart from access to education, we must also promote equality and equity. Those are the three fundamental features in our ministerial policy. If you remember, Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005, in fact, captured most of the issues that you have raised on the Floor of the House. We are, right now, in the middle of a summative review of the Kenya Sub-sector Support Programme (KESSEP) which will now end in 2012. The minute we have that review in place, we will get sufficient information on the 23 investment projects and programmes we have in the Ministry of Education under the Kenya Sub-sector Support Programme, which is supported both by the Government of Kenya and our partners. We should then be able to get informed decisions on how to move forward once that summative review process has been completed. I want to assure the nomadic groups that, indeed, we have crafted a policy on the issue of Nomadic Education Commission (NEC). It is on our tables and soon, we shall be enunciating a clear policy of the shape and form it will take to create the NEC in order to address the issues affecting nomadic people and the people residing in the ASAL areas. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I just wanted to allay the fears with regard to the School Feeding Programme (SFP). A lot of hon. Members have talked about the SFP. Yes, we have the SFP and it was catering for 1.2 million Kenyan children, but unfortunately, because of the rising food prices and other factors, this is going to affect us grossly. We will only cater for 750,000 children. However, we have provided an additional Kshs400 million to mitigate against the shortfall that is arising from the rising food prices. Recently, the Government of Japan gave us an additional
Mr. Temporary Deputy Chairman, Sir, I beg to move:- THAT, a sum not exceeding Kshs57,953,067,100 be issued from the Consolidated Fund to complete the sum necessary to meet the expenditure during the year ending 2608 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 8, 2008 30th June, 2009 in respect of:- Vote 31 - The Ministry of Education
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am directed to report that the Committee of Supply has considered the Resolution that a sum not exceeding Kshs57,953,067,100 be issued from the Consolidated Fund to complete the sum necessary to meet expenditure during the year ending 30th June, 2009, in respect of Vote 31 - Ministry of Education, and has approved the same without amendment.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I beg to move that the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution.
(Mr. Otieno) seconded.
Hon. Members, we have finished the business of today. I want to thank the Minister for Education and his team. It has been very good. The House, therefore, stands adjourned until tomorrow, 9th October, 2008, at 2.30 p.m. The House rose at 5.50 p.m.