Hon. Members, welcome to the ultimate sitting of the Second Session of the Tenth Parliament. Let us move on to Questions.
) to ask the Minister for Energy:- (a) Considering that as at 6th August, 2008, the world price of oil stood at US$126 per barrel, down from a high of US$146 in mid-July, could the Minister explain why fuel prices in the local market have not been adjusted downwards? (b) Why does the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) currently not supply bulk fuel to consumers? (c) Could the Minister explain what steps he will take to ensure that the NOCK begins to supply bulk fuel to consumers to safeguard them against exploitation?
Order, hon. Members! I have information that Mr. Baiya is out of the country on Parliamentary business. So, that Question is deferred infinitely.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Attorney-General the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Could the Attorney-General table the report of the inquiry into the killing by police of Messrs. ole Kipuri and Kimasisia ole Kunkuru and injuries to Messrs. ole Nkalo and ole Shonko during the Maai Mahiu clashes in Naivasha? 2484 (b) Could he also table a list of Kenyans killed by police officers between 2003 to date including those killed in Mt. Elgon operation, the "Wagalla Massacre" and post-election violence giving details of their age, home districts and the circumstances of the killings? (c) Could the Attorney-General further indicate the number of judicial inquiries into unlawful killings by Government forces that have been conducted since 2002 and state what action the Government has taken to punish the errant officers and compensate the victims?
Is the Attorney-General not here? Where is the Leader of Government Business?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would want to urge that probably, within the course of time, we might end up with the Minister responsible because my understanding is that he should be around.
Very well! Hon. Members, we have a letter from the Attorney-General dated 3rd October, this year in which he says that this Question does not belong to his docket and that it belongs to the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security. This is a position that I would have expected the Leader of Government Business to be aware of because the House does not act on letters. It is expected that the responsible Minister is present in the House to confirm that position. So, may that be noted. This Question is deferred to Thursday this week. Could the Minister responsible please take note?
) to ask the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife:- (a) Is the Minister aware that farmers around River Kingwal at Toretmoi swamps in Kapsabet have lately suffered immense losses to crops as a result of invasion by Sitatunga gazelles? (b) What steps will the Government take to end the menace? (c) Could the Minister indicate when the affected farmers will be compensated, including the type of compensation?
Mr. Koech not here? The Question is dropped!
The Chair is now under notice that Mr. Linturi is out of the country, in Cuba, on Parliamentary business. So, that Question is deferred infinitely until the return of Mr. Linturi.
October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2485 CRITERIA FOR CDF ALLOCATIONS
asked the Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030:- (a) whether he could explain the criteria for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations to various constituencies; and, (b) in light of the fact that residents of northern Kenya in general and Laisamis in particular, have lost 85 per cent of their livestock thus increasing poverty levels, what he is doing to adequately adjust the CDF allocations to reflect the true picture of the regions.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The allocation of the CDF among constituencies is governed by a formula specified in the Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2003. From 2004, the CDF has been allocating funds to the constituencies according to the following formula:- (i) Three-quarters of the net total CDF is divided equally among all the constituencies, netting out 5 per cent for emergency and 3 per cent for administration purposes. (ii) A quarter of the allocation is divided amongst all the constituencies on the basis of the poverty index of the constituencies, namely, the proportion of the total number of poor individuals in Kenya that reside in the respective constituency. However, a 0.23 adjustment factor is used to re- scale the allocations downwards for the 17 urban constituencies. The factor is a ratio of urban to rural population derived from the population and housing census of 1999. Therefore, this favours the rural areas where poverty levels are very high. Thus the amount allocated to each constituency depends on three factors, namely, population, the poverty level and whether the constituency is urban or rural. (b) Yes, I am aware that the poverty level for the constituencies in northern Kenya rose from 40 per cent to 70 per cent, according to the figures that we have for 2005/2006. The current Development Blueprint has identified livestock as one of the key economic drivers for the economy of northern Kenya. Unfortunately, the way the Act is at the moment, there is nothing that I can do to assist the hon. Member to use the CDF to finance the restocking of livestock in case of such losses.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Question is very clear. I have not asked the Minister to restock livestock for us. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in order to realise the wealth of a nation or an area, we must take into consideration roads, power and education levels. There is no single electricity pole or a single inch of tarmac in my constituency. Could the Minister be specific and tell me, when they did this research and where exactly they visit in my constituency to come up with the rationale of how much wealth we have?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have specifically said that the allocation of the CDF is based on a particular formula. That formula was derived from the 1999 census. At the moment, there is nothing that I can do because we use a specific formula. I am aware that there is a lot of poverty in the hon. Member's constituency but, at the moment, I am following the Act.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Minister has said that one of the issues that are taken into consideration is the number of poor people per constituency. Could he explain what he means by "poor people per constituency"? Have all the poor people in all the constituencies been considered?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, according to international standards, poor people are the 2486 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 people who live on less than one US dollar per day. That is the standard that is used internationally. So, when we are conducting a census, we determine the people who live on less than one US dollar per day in a constituency.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am surprised to hear the Minister say that there is nothing he can do and that the law is the way it is. I am wondering whether he has plans to amend the law, so that some of the issues which the Members have raised can be addressed. I would like to know whether the Minister also uses the population index or he only uses the poverty index. There are some constituencies which have so many people and they get the same amount of money. The Minister must understand that the CDF is the only tool that the Members have to develop their constituencies. I would also like to know when he is going to increase---
Order, Mr. Nyambati! It is Question Time! You have already asked two questions. Mr. Minister!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member wanted to know whether I am going to amend the CDF Act. We undertook a training programme recently. This gave me an opportunity to go around quite a number of constituencies. However, there are other impediments to the CDF Act at the moment. We are trying to compile reports from all the constituencies to see the issues that we can address, so that the CDF can help the wananchi properly. I will come up with a comprehensive report which will guide me to propose amendments to the CDF Act to the Members. We need to amend the Act so that the CDF can help the wananchi.
Mr. Speaker. Sir, one of the problems in the allocation of the CDF funds is that it is based on the poverty index. Many people have raised questions as to whether the Ministry computes accurate poverty indexes. How reliable are the figures? Why did the Ministry suppress the latest statistics?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, first of all, I have not suppressed any figures. Any census or survey is done through sampling. We computed poverty indexes in 2003. We computed other poverty indexes in 2005. This is based on a sampling survey. With regard to the figures that the hon. Member has said that I have not used, the survey was done based on districts. The focus was on the districts. When it came to the constituencies, they did an interpolation. So, these were estimated figures and there were a lot of variances. That is why I decided to use the figures of 2003.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the limitations of the Minister with regard to the CDF allocations in this country, we all know that he is in charge of the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, whose statistics are pegged on resources from the Ministry of Finance. In terms of policy decisions and planning, what does the Government have for northern Kenya besides creating a Ministry that does not have enough resources? What is the Minister going to do, as an alternative strategy, to develop northern Kenya?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will appreciate that, that is a different Question. However, I would like to assure the hon. Member that when we undertake planning, we plan for the entire country. We have intervention for northern Kenya now and that is why there is a specific Ministry to focus on the region.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the Minister's answers and the initiative to fast-track and see how we can amend the CDF Act, I would like to emphasise certain things. Coming from an area that has lost about 95 per cent of its livestock production, I would like to request the Minister to address these issues as urgently as possible. I commend him for doing what he has done. The amendment to the Act needs to be fast-tracked. I would like to ask the Minister to give us a timeframe within which this will be done, so that we can also prepare ourselves. I have never seen a single person from the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 asking questions from the people of northern Kenya. The Ministry just uses estimations! October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2487
Mr. Lekuton, which question do you want to be answered?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like the Minister to respond to the issue of the timeframe within which the CDF Act will be amended.
Mr. Minister, as I understand it, can you give a timeframe?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have clearly said that I am collecting information. I will then discuss the information with the Select Committee on the CDF. So, as soon as I am through, and I hope this will take about three months, I will bring the amendments here.
asked the Minister for Water and Irrigation:- (a) whether she is aware that there is a chronic water shortage in Machakos Town; (b) what she is doing about the water vendors who are now supplying the residents with untreated water at high cost; and, (c) what steps the Government will take to end the chronic water shortage.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Yes, I am aware that there is a water shortage in Machakos Town, caused by the demand out-stripping the supply. (b) However, I would like to inform the hon. Member that we have released funds to construct the new Maruba Dam, which will provide adequate water to the residents of Machakos Town. My Ministry will deal with the vendors to ensure that they are certified. They will then be monitored to ensure that they supply quality water. (c) The Ministry has set aside Kshs250 million to complete that dam. This will provide water to the residents of Machakos Town at the rate of 10 million litres per day.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Minister for that very good answer. I also want to thank the Government for considering the plight of the residents of Machakos Town. However, I would like the Minister to assure this House that this water will not be diverted to other areas like the Nol Turesh Water Project and find its way to some flower farms.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I can assure the hon. Member that the water will be used by the residents of Machakos Town. However, should he find some people stealing the water and diverting it to flower farms, he should notify me and I will take the appropriate action.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Minister is quite aware that one of the biggest centres in my constituency is Matuu Town. Over the years, there has been no water in that town. Could the Minister consider Matuu Town to be supplied with water from Masinga Dam?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the hon. Member is right. Matuu Town has no water. We have negotiated with one of our partners and we have set aside some money to provide water to the residents of Matuu Town. This work will begin in the next financial year and Matuu Town and its environs will get water.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, right now, the residents of Machakos Town are very thirsty. In the circumstances, could the Minister institute some measures to ensure that the residents of Machakos Town are supplied with water today or tomorrow? We have facilities and personnel lying idle in our barracks!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am aware that Machakos Town residents are very thirsty and as a result--- Before the dam is completed by May 2009, we have put aside Kshs6.5 million that is going to ensure that all the boreholes within Machakos Town are working, and whatever kiosk that will have water will be opened. Otherwise, there will be no need to use the barracks. 2488 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wanted the Minister to address the question of the districts lacking water engineers and only having water inspectors. Why is the Ministry still sending money for development to the districts which have no engineers and not consolidating this money to the regional water boards which have engineers? This will ensure that the money is utilised effectively, because at the moment---
Madam Minister! Mr. Mbadi, you have asked your question already!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members are aware that we passed a law in this House, the Water Act 2002, and we are still implementing the reforms according to this Act that we passed. So, in some districts, we have water engineers while in others we have water companies. Therefore, we are still trying to harmonise the work of the Ministry, the work of the water companies and the work of the water services boards that are spread out in all the regions. That is the reason!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, could the Minister give the estimated time of completion of that water project? Could she also assure Machakos residents that they will be the ones offering the labour to the project?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, by the way, when I launched this water project, the hon. Member was not there. I am sure I wrote a letter to him, asking him to come and say everything he wanted to say to his people. However, I want to say here that I have said that the local labour must come from Machakos Town and the work will be completed, indeed, in the next six to eight months. Work has already started.
Very well, Madam Minister! I would have liked to see the Member for Machakos Town. Is he in the House?
You are not so dusty, yet the Minister has said that the people of Machakos Town are dusty!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, Machakos Town people should not think that what you have said is what I said. I did not say they are "dusty". Indeed, Machakos Town people are very clean, but they are thirsty and we are going to provide them with water so that we quench their thirst.
Very well, Madam Minister!
asked the Minister for Education:- (a) whether he could confirm that there has been no audit of books of accounts in most schools in Emuhaya Constituency since 2002; and, (b) what has been the reason for the delay and when the Ministry plans to do the audit.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) I wish to confirm that seven secondary schools in Emuhaya Constituency have been October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2489 audited up to the year 2006. Thirteen other schools have submitted their books of accounts to the District Education Officer's office, and are being audited. Only two secondary schools, namely, Esibeye Secondary School and Esiandumba Secondary School, have not been audited since the year 2002 because they have not submitted their books of accounts for auditing. (b) The reason for the delay has been due to the non-submission of books of accounts by the two schools as required. The Ministry will audit the books of accounts immediately they are submitted by the schools.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the answer from the Assistant Minister, I wish to ask the following questions.
Order, Dr. Otichilo! You are allowed one question at a time!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to know the names of the seven schools that he is saying have been audited! What are their names?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the schools which have been audited up to the year 2006 are Bunyore Girls, Ebunangwe Secondary School, Ebusiratsi Secondary School, Ebusyubi Secondary School, Ebuyalu Secondary School, Ebwali Secondary School, Ekwanda Secondary School, Esibila Secondary School, Ebukanga Secondary School, Esongolo Secondary School, Ibubi Secondary School, Kilingili Secondary School and Mumboha Secondary School.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the period from 2002 to this year is such a long time for any school to fail to submit their books for auditing. This House cannot afford to be treated to very simple answers. I would like to know what action the Assistant Minister has taken against those managers, principals or those responsible for the failure to submit their books for audit. What action has he taken?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have ordered the Boards of Governors of the two schools to convene meetings, so as to ensure that their books of accounts are submitted for auditing. If they fail to do that, then further action will be taken against them.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to tell us that they have instructed Boards of Governors of schools when the people who deal directly with school heads should have been the quality assurance officers or the school auditors! Is the Assistant Minister in order not to give us the right answer? It is as if they are abdicating their responsibility!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, this is a question of management; the management of schools is in the hands of the BOGs and the Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs). We have given the orders to the BOGs of the two schools, which are the managers of the two schools to ensure that their books of accounts are submitted for auditing.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, is the Assistant Minister aware that the accounting officer of any school is the principal, and the chairman of the BOG and his members have no role to play in the actual auditing of the books, because they do not submit books to the auditors? It is the principals who submit the books to the auditors. When there is an overlap of the years---
Order, Mr. Ruteere! You must come to end of your question!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to reiterate that it is the BOG that is responsible for the management of a school, even though the principal is the accounting officer. The accounting officer is accountable to the whole management of the school, which is the BOG. If the BOG has a problem with the principal, then it has the right to inform the Ministry and then we shall take 2490 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 appropriate action against such a principal.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister, in answering the Question, has admitted that the Ministry of Education has not been able to audit books all over the country. We have free secondary school funds that have been given to schools and yet, no audit has been going on. There are two bodies that audit Government accounts; the Controller and Auditor-General and the auditors from the Ministry of Education. Could the Assistant Minister tell us where the bottleneck is? Could the Assistant Minister tell us the timeframe so that, by the time the Government disburses all the funds for free secondary school education, there will be proper accounting?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member has a problem in his constituency or district with regard to auditing of accounts of schools, let him inform us---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
The Assistant Minister has hardly given you an answer! Please, let him do so!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, let him inform us! We shall act accordingly! Otherwise, we have a problem in the Ministry with regard to sufficient personnel. But that is the case in the whole Government. But in case he has problems with his schools, let him tell us and we shall handle them.
Very well! Last question, Dr. Otichilo!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I wish to inform the Assistant Minister that the 13 schools that submitted their books of accounts to the District Education Officer (DEO) have not been audited because there is no auditor in Emuhaya District. When are you going to post an auditor to Emuhaya District so that the books of accounts can be audited? That should be very urgent because the schools have problems!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I promise you that they will be audited before the end of this calender year.
asked the Minister for Lands:- (a) what the Government is doing to resolve the squatter problem which has not been addressed since Independence; (b) whether the Minister could confirm how the funds which were set aside in previous Budgets towards purchase of land to settle squatters have been utilized; and, (c) whether he could table the list of the purchased farms and the details of squatters settled thereon so far.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) Since Independence, the Government has settled squatters in settlement schemes as follows:- A total of 106 squatter settlement schemes have been established, covering a total of 81,027.05 hectares. Those schemes have covered 22,395 squatters. The programme is ongoing. Currently, nine farms are under demarcation and survey is still going on. (b) Since the Financial Years 2002/2003 and 2007/2008, a total of Kshs1.955 billion has October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2491 been allocated to the Ministry to purchase farms. Eleven farms have been bought at a total cost of Kshs14,890,285. (c) I do lay on the Table the list of the purchased farms as sought by the hon. Member.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what I sought was not laying the list on the Table only. I requested the Assistant Minister to lay the list of the beneficiaries on the Table and the details of the squatters settled on the eleven farms. Could the Assistant Minister do that, please?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, what I have stated is that, out of the 45,291 squatters, we are expected to settle 15,148 squatters. That is what I can tell the hon. Member. He had actually asked me to lay on the Table the list of the farms that have been purchased, and I have done that.
Order, Mr. Assistant Minister! Part (c) of the Question asks you to give the details of the squatters that have been settled. So, you must do one of three possible things:- (a) Give the number of squatters who have been settled. (b) Give their names. (c) Give the numbers and areas where they have been settled.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, that has been done. I think it is a comprehensive list. That is because in Coast Province, we have settled, I think, 650 squatters in Madeteni, 182 in Boyani, 1,109 in Mavueni "A", 81 in Ngomeni, 233 in Kibarani Extension, 300 in Mavueni "B", 290 in Nyari, 719 in Matsangoni, 77 in Majao ni---
On a point or order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I am sure he is not giving us the details of the squatters. He is giving us the number of squatters settled!
How can you say that, Mr. Ruteere?
I do not think you have authority over that one! I can say that the Assistant Minister has done very well. That is because part (c) of the Question asks the Assistant Minister to lay on the Table the list of the farms that have been purchased and the details of the squatters that have been settled. The Assistant Minister has complied! He has indicated the farms that have been purchased and the number of squatters that have been settled on each farm. So, Mr. Assistant Minister, you have done very well and you will stop there! Proceed, Mr. C. Kilonzo!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there are several cases and, more so, in my own home location, which is a settlement scheme. The intention was to settle the squatters here. If I can refer the Assistant Minister to the particular scheme on page 3, there is Ndalani Phase I, there is Nzukini Phase I on page 4 and Ndalani Phase II. The original people who were intended to settle there were squatters. But the people who ended up getting about 30 per cent of the settlement scheme were, indeed, not squatters. After benefitting, those people became absentee landlords. They have now come back with titles and are evicting people who have settled there for the last 40 years. Could the Assistant Minister, or the Government, urgently ensure that those titles are not recognized? That is because you cannot evict people who have occupied land for more than 40 years in those particular settlement schemes!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, if the hon. Member could come up with a list of the complainants in those respective schemes, I can assure this House that action will be taken.
2492 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008
Order, Mr. Gunda! All you need to do is stand in your position and you will catch the Speaker's eye. You do not have to raise your hand!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Maybe, you were not seeing me! That is why I raised my hand! Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want to know the people who have been settled. For example, in Madeteni, the people who were settled there are not the indigenous people. The people who have been staying there have no title deeds and others from outside have come. Who are the people who were settled at Madeteni?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have assisted this House by laying a list of beneficiaries on the Table. If any hon. Member feels aggrieved, it is up to him to raise that issue with my Ministry, and we will take the necessary action.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is your point of order, Mr. Wamalwa?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, is it in order for the Assistant Minister to indicate that he has tabled the list of the names of the people who benefitted from those plots when he has not done so?
Mr. Assistant Minister, does your list not have names?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have given an indication of the people who have actually been settled, and not the list of the names. So, it is up to the hon. Member, if he feels that a certain settlement scheme was not properly implemented, to raise up the matter with the Ministry. I can assure him that proper action will be taken, so that the people whom he feels should be settled will actually be settled.
Very well, Mr. Assistant Minister! Hon. Members, the Question, as framed, has elicited an answer that is correct. The Assistant Minister was not specifically asked to give names. He has been asked to give details. If he gives numbers, then he has supplied details, certainly! Last question, Mr. Wamalwa!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, can the Assistant Minister tell the House what criteria was applied in purchasing the 11 farms and in identifying the squatters who were settled on those farms? Trans Nzoia District is the headquarters of squatters in Kenya, but none of the squatters from that district has benefitted from the settlement project. What criteria was applied?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is no criteria whatsoever that was applied. It depends on the demand. The most crucial thing is availability of money. As you know, in the current Budget, we do not have any allocation for settlement of squatters. So, if this House could assist me to get money, I can look into the settlement of squatters in Trans Nzoia District.
Very well! Next Question, Mr. Lankas!
CONSTRUCTION OF NAROK SOUTH DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2493
asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:- (a) what criteria is applied by the Government in creating new districts; and, (b) when the Government will construct the headquarters for the new Narok South District.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Government established the following criteria in creating the new districts: Population density, geographical and physical features, internal harmony of population, security demands and infrastructure. (b) The construction of the new Narok South District Headquarters will commence this financial year. The Government has earmarked Kshs5 million to jumpstart the project.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, calling for a leaders' meeting is very important when a new district is being created. In the case of Narok South District, a leaders' meeting was held some time early this year, which was long after the new district was created. Even in that meeting, there was no consensus on the location of the district headquarters. However, according to the supplementary written answer that the Assistant Minister has supplied, they have identified Ololulung'a Trading Centre as the district headquarters. Could he clarify how they arrived at the decision to have that trading centre as the district headquarters?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I cannot explain how this happened, because I was not aware. There was a problem. As far as we are concerned, we deal with the minutes coming from the districts, and I was not aware. I even checked with the Provincial Commissioner to establish whether there were issues concerning Narok South District. So, I am not aware that there are contentious issues about the establishment of the headquarters.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, considering that there are many newly created districts, could the Assistant Minister tell the House whether funds have been made available to all the new districts for construction of district headquarters?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, some funds have been set aside. They may not be adequate, but there will be some funds to, at least, start constructing some facilities.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I want to thank the Assistant Minister for saying that funds have been set aside for the newly created districts. I happen to come from a newly created district, namely, Manga District, where we do not have an office for even a single officer, be it the District Commissioner or other officers. Could he tell us when these funds will be available, so that we can start constructing office blocks?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, as I have just said, funds have been set aside in the current Budget. I advise hon. Members to look at the Printed Estimates and if they feel that their districts have been left out, we can always discuss on the way forward.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in some places, a district is also a constituency. In other places, two or more constituencies form a district, and I consider this to be open discrimination. I am sure that the Assistant Minister is aware. Could he, therefore, tell us when he is going to put an end to this open discrimination, so that every constituency can become a district?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am, indeed, aware that four constituencies have two districts. I am also aware that 69 constituencies are districts on their own. I am further aware that every hon. Member would wish that every constituency becomes a district. 2494 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 Mr. Speaker, Sir, however, I believe that this is a constitutional matter, which we may have to deal with in the course of this year, so that we can go the right way. The right way is, really, for every constituency to be a district.
Last question, Mr. ole Lankas!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, now that the Assistant Minister has accepted that he is not aware that there was no consensus on the location of the district headquarters in Narok South District, could he consider allowing a second leaders' meeting to be properly constituted, so that the leaders from the whole district can meet and agree on the location of the district headquarters?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, really, I do not know what to do. I feel a bit ambushed, because we have not yet come across a district where people are not happy about its being set up. So, I will consult because, really, we would not want to go back to issues that have already been---
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I have not said that we are not happy about the creation of the new district. I am saying that the leaders have not agreed on the location of the district headquarters. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Yes, Mr. Assistant Minister!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I will have to consult and look at the minutes that were submitted to us by the leaders and see what the problem was. For the time being, I am not familiar with the subject, but I will consult. The hon. Member is free to visit us, so that we can discuss the question of the headquarters in much more details.
Mr. Assistant Minister, do I understand you to be undertaking to the hon. Member to verify the factual position?
Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
Very well! That should rest the matter! Hon. Members, the balance of the Questions on the Order Paper - Questions 258, 275 and 291 - are deferred to tomorrow morning. They will have priority on the Order Paper for tomorrow morning.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my pleasure to move Vote 31 for the Ministry of Education. Before I present the details of these Estimates, I wish to affirm my Ministry's commitment to the full implementation of the current policy framework governing the sector whose goal is to provide equal opportunities to education for all children and other learners including those with special needs. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as reflected in the Estimates before this House, consistent allocation of large sums of our national resources to my Ministry confirms---
Order, Mr. Minister! You have many years of experience behind you, yet you are not moving your Motion!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg your pardon. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that Mr. Speaker, do now leave the Chair. Having said that, hon. Members are aware that the first medium-term plan Vision 2030 provides a foundation for a new national development strategy that links national policies to specific programmes and projects in order to realise shared national objectives. The Vision document acknowledges the critical role education plays as an enabler in the development of quality human capital which can use knowledge and other resources effectively for the benefit of the society. Indeed, education is viewed as being one of the four main pillars of building a knowledge-based economy which is a critical ingredient for ensuring Kenya's competitiveness in the global arena. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as hon. Members are aware, the post election violence experienced this year did not spare the education sector. Many schools and other learning institutions were badly affected by either being burnt or vandalised. In this regard, my Ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of State for Special Programmes, has already embarked on a major programme of reconstruction and rehabilitation. To that effect, a total sum of Kshs345.6 million has already been released to finance this very urgent expenditure. These resources were made available following consultations with our development partners who fund the sector through the pool. The reconstruction\rehabilitation programme will adopt a phased out approach and work for phase I is already on-going targeting Molo and Trans Nzoia East districts at a total cost of Kshs123.6 million. Phases II and III will target 23 districts in Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley, Central and Nairobi provinces at a total cost of Kshs295.8 million. 2496 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members should note that the phasing of this programme is based on wider Government resettlement programme and targets destroyed institutions as well as those that have admitted huge numbers of displaced learners. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government intends to mainstream Early Childhood Education (ECE) into basic education by 2010 in line with the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005 on Policy Framework for Education, Training and Research. It is envisaged by 2010, the Government will meet the wage bill of Early Childhood Development (ECD) managers as the first phase of ECD integration. In readiness for this eventuality, my Ministry has enhanced the allocation for the ECD sub-sector from Kshs42 million in the last financial year to Kshs221 million this year to finance preparatory activities. Some of these activities include increasing the ECD centres benefitting from the community support grants from the current 3,448 to 8,000, raising the number of diploma teacher training colleges for ECD from 12 to 26 to enhance quality dissemination and implementation of the ECD policy at the grassroots level among others. Mr. Speaker, Sir, my Ministry remains committed to meeting our national and international commitments including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), education for all through the delivery of policies set out in the Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005. In this regard, my Ministry continues to implement the Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) which is the operational framework for the implementation of sector investment programme. KESSP provides a strong foundation for sector development and is intended to facilitate the realisation of our sector goals. Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members will recall that KESSP was designed to be implemented for five years from July, 2005 to June, 2010 at an initial cost of Kshs542 billion. However, following the success of the free primary education and the rapid expansion of the secondary sub- sector, we will need much more resources than was initially estimated. With this in mind, I wish to take this opportunity to appeal for more support from our partners in meeting the financing gaps that exist so as to make this very important programme a reality. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a Ministry, we are firmly committed to consolidation of the gains that have accrued from the implementation of the free primary education which has seen enrolment increase from 5.9 million children to 8.2 million children currently. This rapid growth has exerted enormous pressure on the secondary sub-sector, thus pushing transition from primary to secondary school level from 47 per cent in 2003 to 70 per cent in 2008. As a result, enrolment in our secondary schools has risen from 778,000 in 2002 to 1.3 million children currently. This fast growth and the high levels of poverty in many households demand increased support to the poor who cannot afford to meet the cost of secondary accommodation. In an attempt to make secondary education more accessible, the Government, with effect from January, 2008, initiated the implementation of free day secondary school education programme on a per capita basis of Kshs10,000 per student in public secondary schools. Mr. Speaker, Sir, as hon. Members are aware, despite this impressive record, we still have many children out of schools especially in urban slums and ASAL regions. In addition, many schools, both primary and secondary are in a poor state of repair and have inadequate classrooms and other facilities to cater for the learning needs of the increasing numbers of children. Some schools in ASAL areas, pockets of poverty and informal settlements, lack the necessary sanitation facilities making learning environment unattractive especially for the girl child. In addition, there is also need to address the plight of the most vulnerable children such as orphans, those with special needs and others, in order to ensure that they enrol in schools, are retained and transit to higher levels. Arising from acute shortage of teachers, especially, at primary and secondary levels, the pupil to teacher ratios have gone to unacceptable high levels particulary October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2497 in urban slums, high population areas and some rural ASAL districts, thus impacting negatively on quality of education. Mr. Speaker, Sir, in addition, shortage of quality assurance and standards officers continues to undermine the critical role they are supposed to play in ensuring effective curriculum delivery. The adult basic education sub-sector, too, is constrained by lack of adequate numbers of adult education teachers, the high turnover and a low number of adult literacy centres. It has suffered negative perception by many Kenyan adults. Mr. Speaker, Sir, although efforts are underway to promote Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as science and technology education, investment towards provision of ICT infrastructure remains very low due to resources constraints. This is a major challenge to us as a nation given the critical role that ICT, science and technology play in modern development. We need to invest more in these areas if Kenya is to become internationally competitive. In addition, I would like to assure hon. Members that we are working hard to strengthen the delivery of the approved curriculum. In this regard, we are strengthening the directive on quality assurance and standards through the recruitment of more officers. On 1st July, 334 Quality Assurance and Standards Officers recruited by the Public Service Commission reported to their stations. Further, Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have extended our in-service training under the SMASSE Programme to primary teachers training colleges. From this year, trainers of primary school teachers will undergo training under SMASSE so as to improve their curriculum delivery skills in science and mathematics. It is our hope that this will lead to better science and mathematics teachers in our primary schools. Mr. Speaker, Sir, education and training entails heavy investment in material resources and human capital. Unfortunately, Government resources are not enough to finance all the national needs. For this reason, we shall continue to call for contributions from all our development partners. In this regard, I take this opportunity to thank all hon. Members for their continued support, particularly through Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I also urge them to keep up this support for the good of present and future generations. However, I appeal for greater co- operation in our district development efforts so as to minimise duplication and waste of resources. As we plan and develop our new schools, let us bear in mind that we have a limited number of teachers. For this reason, more efforts need to be placed on functioning of existing schools and only building new ones where they are absolutely essential. If we do not take precaution, we may end up with schools without teachers. For this reasons, all Members of Parliament are encouraged to consult with the District Education Boards before they start any new schools. They also need to ensure that the relevant technical department is involved in the construction to ensure appropriate standards are met. Provision of education to adults is an important vehicle for creating an enlightened human resource and chain-relating self-employment. Adult education enables adults to acquire knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, which are a prerequisite for meaningful and active participation of the individual in national development. Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members will recall that the National Literacy Survey, 2006 revealed that seven to eight million Kenyan adults and out-of-school youths are functionally illiterate. With this high rate of functional illiteracy in the country, it means that we cannot make headway towards the desired economic recovery because this hinders full participation of communities in productive activities that are aimed at improving their livelihoods. The realisation of the target set in Vision 2030 requires a functionally literate adult population, which can effectively contribute to economic production and participate in the democratic processes. For this reason, we need to have more resources allocated in this sub-sector in order to address some of the 2498 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 issues relating to productivity and enhancement of the democratic process in our national life. Mr. Speaker, Sir, this financial year my Ministry has been allocated Kshs106,952,678,070 in the Recurrent Vote, and Kshs10,573,934,488 in the Development Vote. The Recurrent Estimates reflect an addition of Kshs10,365,798,300 from last year's Budgetary allocation of Kshs96,006,871,700, while the Development Estimates reflect an increase of Kshs1,067,501,988 over last year's allocation of Kshs9,506,432,500. I now wish to highlight the major programmes in my Ministry's Budget where the above would be applied. Mr. Speaker, Sir, regarding the Recurrent Expenditure, Vote D31, the Ministry's recurrent Budget is made up of six Sub-Votes, with an allocation of Kshs106,952,670,000 distributed as follows: Kshs20 million will go towards implementation of Phase II of the School Mapping Project, which will basically entail analysis of data and development of district atlases. The first phase of the project was completed in November, 2007. The output of this phase involved the development of geo-data base, comprising of all learning institutions countrywide. The database is geo-partial in nature and contains geographic locations of all schools/institutions, general information on schools/institutions in both the public and the private sector, teaching and non-teaching staff, enrolment facilities available and their fiscal condition. Head 834 - Headquarters and Administrative Services - will have Kshs475,113,018, which will cater for the salaries and other operational expenses of the headquarters support departments such as administration, finance, accounts, personnel, procurement, ICT and so on . Under Head 838 - Kenya National Commission for UNESCO - Kenya's Permanent Representative to UNESCO and the Commonwealth Education Office in London will get Kshs114,216,969. The provision under this head will cater for the cost of maintaining our office for the Permanent Representative to the UNESCO in Paris, as well as the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO in Nairobi and Commonwealth and our education office in London. Head 839 - Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) - will have an allocation of Kshs437 million. These are grants given to the KNEC to supplement fees collected from candidates to run examinations and expenses in the council secretariat. The allocation includes an additional amount of Kshs87 million to upgrade KNEC'S ICT capacity. Head 841 - The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) -will get an allocation of Kshs78,800,557,285. The allocation under this Head will service the TSC Secretariat and meet payment of teachers salaries. During the current financial year the Government will spend Kshs78 billion on teachers and TSC secretariat salaries, and it includes Kshs1.5 billion earmarked for recruitment of the 6,000 additional teachers. A further Kshs648 million will be used to finance operations and maintenance expenses. Head 845 - Schools Audit Unit, Kshs84,624,327. The allocation on this Head facilitates the activities of the schools unit which is charged with the responsibility of auditing all public schools and public tertiary training institutions to ensure proper utilisation of public resources. Head 837 and 862 - Provincial and District Education Services; Kshs2,120,683,314. The allocation under this Head will cater for the administrative costs for the running of our provincial and district education services. That will include purchase of vehicles for the new districts and their operations. Head 810 - Post Primary Schools; Kshs110 million. Those funds would be utilised as grants to special technical schools which cater for children with special needs. Those include the current Technical Institute for the Deaf, Nyangoma Technical Institute for the Deaf, Machakos Institute for the Blind, Sekriti Technical Institute for the Blind and the Kenyatta Institute for the blind. Head 811 - Special Secondary Schools; Kshs100 million. Those funds will be spent to give grants to special secondary schools which include, among many others, Thika Secondary School for the Blind, Joy Town Secondary School for the Physically Handicapped, Gucha Secondary October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2499 School for the Deaf, Joyland Secondary School, Mombasa Secondary School, St. Angelus, Mumias and Rev. Muhoho Secondary School. Head 816 - Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE); Kshs221,483,816. This allocation will cater for expenses relating to in-service of pre-school teachers under the ECDE Programme and community support grants. Head 844 - Directorate of Basic Education; Kshs8,804,261,471. Under this Head, the main course relates to grants for teaching and learning materials for all public primary schools under the Free Primary Education Programme, as well as the administrative costs for the Directorate of Basic Education. In the current financial year, an allocation of Kshs8.6 billion will finance free primary education, out of which, Kshs375 million will be given as grants to low cost boarding primary schools in ASAL areas and pockets of poverty. Co curricula activities for primary schools will also be allocated Kshs190 million during this period. Head 846 - School Feeding Programme; Kshs606,326,521. Part of that allocation will cater for the cost of contribution, distribution of foodstuff donated by the World Food Programme to schools under the Schools Feeding Programme in ASALs and pockets of poverty. An amount of Kshs400,070,500 will be for purchase of foodstuff to meet the expected shortfall. Head 847 - Primary Teachers Training Colleges; Kshs214,216,000. The funds allocated under this Head will cater for the operations of 19 primary teacher training colleges. Head 848 - Special Primary Schools; Kshs210 million. Mr. Speaker, Sir, hon. Members are aware that we have many primary schools that require that support and, therefore, that vote will be captured under that level. Head 852 - Kenya Institute of Special Education; Kshs77,749,022. That allocation will take care of the special needs of education. Sub-Vote 312 - Quality Assurance and Standards; Kshs210,190,914. That allocation is for the operations and salaries of that department. Sub-Vote 313 - Secondary and Tertiary Education; Kshs16,835,353,369. This Vote, of course, will take care of diploma teacher training colleges and other secondary institutions. Head 835 - Directorate of Secondary Tertiary Education; Kshs4,057,178,000. That will take care of the three day secondary schools and there are sub-heads there that we will be able to debate during the current debate. Heads 547, 568 and 847 are for Kibabii and Kagumo Teachers Colleges, and Centres for Mathematics. They have been allocated Kshs14.8 million. Head 314 - Directorate of Policy and Planning; Kshs210,481,164. Sub-Vote 315, Department of Adult Education, is a new department which is in my Ministry. It has been allocated Kshs721,000,275. Under the Development and Recurrent Expenditure, we have Kshs10,573,934,488, with the Government contribution of Kshs1,633,000,000. The rest of the money comes from development partners. Sub-Vote 310 - General Administration and Planning; Kshs581 million. That amount will take care of the administrative services both at the headquarters and other places. Of course, I have mentioned the Kenya National Examinations Council and the Teachers Service Commission. An amount of Kshs350 million has been set aside for the completion of the headquarters of Kenya National Examinations Council and Teachers Service Commission. Of course, for the Head on District Services, Kshs94 million has been set aside to develop our districts. Sub-Vote 311 on Basic Education will require an amount of Kshs9,005,034,488 which will also finance some of those expenditures. Mr. Speaker, Sir, you will see that from Sub-Vote 313, Secondary and Tertiary Education under Development Expenditure, will require an amount of Kshs848,950,000, out of which, a sum 2500 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 of Kshs293 million will be spent to provide science laboratory equipment to our institutions. An additional Kshs180 million will go to Kibabii Teachers Training College. Under Sub-Vote 314, the Directorate of Policy Planning will require Kshs133,100,000 for purposes of running that department. Under Sub-Vote 315, the Department of Adult Education will require Kshs5,850,000. That amount will cater for the refurbishment of Kakemga/Ahero Multi Purpose Training Institute and its training purposes. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to, once again, on behalf of the Government, acknowledge the contribution of our development partners and you, as Members of Parliament, for what you are doing today. I will be able to make some further comments in my final reply to the debate in this House. But may I say that reports from the field reflect many situations of localised marginalisation of some areas. In each region, one comes across such events. I want to appeal that we pay special attention to some of those things. Mr. Speaker, Sir, allow me to emphasise the need for close collaboration and partnership in all that we do in education, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication and wastage of resources. I urge all hon. Members to consult with us and the District Education Boards at all times on resource utilisation. I wish to inform all Kenyans that we shall remain steadfast in ensuring that available public resources are distributed equitably across the country. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move. I will be seconded by the former Minister for Education and now, the current Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, Prof. Saitoti.
Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is my very great pleasure to second this Vote on the Ministry of Education. At the very outset, I would like to commend the Minister, Prof. Ongeri, his entire team in the Ministry of Education and the teachers for the very great contribution that they continue to make during a period of unprecedented expansion of education in this country. Mr. Speaker, Sir, education and development are very much intertwined. Indeed, it has been demonstrated all over the world that education is extremely important in terms of ensuring that a country develops. At the same time, education cannot be developed unless there is development. Education is the one that produces the skilled manpower for any nation. It makes the greatest contribution to capital manpower. A country can improve its own standards and the quality of life of its people depending on the quality of the manpower that it has. This is much more the case in the kind of world that we live in today. We are living in global environment. We are living in an extremely competitive world today. Only those countries that have the knowledge and the technological know-how will be able to compete in this very competitive world. The cornerstone of all that is education. It is what really matters. It is, therefore, in recognition of this that this Government decided to provide free education to all primary school-going-age children. It is not only because of that, but also in recognition of the fact that education is a right of every child. For us, we have the Children's Act which makes it clear that children of a school-going-age receive free and compulsory education. Since this very ambitious undertaking was put into place in the beginning of 2003, we have now seen a very high rise in enrolment of students in our primary schools to the extent that today we have about 8 million pupils in our primary schools up from about 5.6 million pupils way back at the beginning of 2003. Mr. Speaker, Sir, an enormous amount of money has been put in place in order to sustain the Free Primary Education (FPE). The Minister for Education has ably informed us that slightly over Kshs106 billion has been set aside for the Ministry of Education. This will bear results in due course. We will become a well-educated country and we will have a skilled manpower. We will all October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2501 be able to build this nation. That way, we will address the challenges of unemployment and poverty. We should understand that education is an important tool for correcting social inequality. Let me also say that the investment in our own education has not only been confined to the primary education. Indeed, as the enrolment in our primary schools began to expand, it became plainly clear that unless we also put efforts to increase the transition rate from primary school to secondary school, we were going to be faced with a major wastage of students who would have finished primary school education but are unable to proceed to secondary school. That is the rationale behind the offering of Free Secondary Education (FSE). We would have wished to be able to offer FSE and so on. However, internationally, it has been shown that FSE is only confined to the day school secondary education. The number of students has really increased. The same thing applies to the universities. The key thing is about the kind of education that we want to offer our students in this country. It all rests on the four pillars articulated in our Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005. I would like to mention those pillars. One of the fundamental pillars is access to education. This is meant to ensure that all students, irrespective of their social circumstances or physical abilities, are able to proceed to school. Quality is another very important pillar. It has been proven internationally that if you offer education per se and it has no quality, you end up educated people who will not be in a position to utilise that education. Quality of education, from the very beginning, is extremely important. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am happy to say that the Minister for Education has continued to lay emphasis on the provision of quality education. This is fundamental. I know that they are constrained because we require sufficient teachers in order to offer quality education. As we have heard from the Minister for Education, there is provision in the Budget for the recruitment of additional 6,000 teachers. No doubt, that will cut down slightly the shortage of teachers although the problem still remains. In terms of quality of education, the Minister for Education has explained the efforts his Ministry and the Government is making to ensure that, at least, secondary school students are trained in the area of science which is extremely important. In order to do so, we ought to train teachers in the areas of Science and Mathematics so that they can impart proper and sound knowledge to our students. This is being done. Much more important, and hon. Members might have seen this, is the resources that have been factored in the Budget to ensure that the secondary schools access money to enable them build science laboratories and purchase science equipment. The schools need to have the necessary infrastructure and computers so that students are taught ICT. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the third pillar of our education is equity. This is so because we want to ensure that all kids go to schools. Much more important, we want to ensure that even the children who are physically challenged go to school to have education. That is important and resources have been put in the Budget to ensure that even the physically challenged children access education. This is an important thing in terms of creating equity in education. The fourth pillar is to close the gender gap. For a long time, our education system has been characterised by a very wide gender gap where the girl-child did not have the same opportunities as the boy-child. That is one reason why we embarked on the FPE Programme. We also know that there are several social habits and traditions that tend to marginalise the girl-child. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I am very happy that it has been addressed but much more important is that, we know that there are a number of challenges and I am very happy that the Minister for Education has been able to articulate them. Even as we say we are offering free primary education, we still have almost 1.5 million kids who are not going to school in the arid, poor and hard to reach areas in the slums. We need more teachers. The gender gap has not yet been addressed. 2502 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 Mr. Speaker, Sir, I wish to second this very valuable Vote on the Ministry of Education.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir.
What is it, Mr. Wetangula?
Mr. Speaker, Sir, procedurally, you have not proposed the Question.
That is right!
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. While appreciating the efforts the Ministry of Education is doing in ensuring that education is improved in our country and that as many children as possible get an opportunity to get education, there are few issues which I feel the Ministry needs to look at very seriously. Mr. Speaker, Sir, when we talk about free primary education and we offer the same to children in Nairobi, Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley provinces, they are able to eat, wake up in the morning and go to school. What about the children in Turkana? The children in Turkana, first and foremost, do not have food. The children in dry areas experience a lot of problems in going to school. The Minister has talked about equity being one of the three pillars of education. If that is the case, then the first thing the Minister for Education needs to look at is how do we enable every single child to access free education? I think the Ministry needs to look into that issue very seriously. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other thing that I think the Ministry needs to look at is the issue of teachers. Teachers in this country over a long period have been agitating for higher salaries and rightfully so. We have had incidences where teachers are being told that all they can do is to drink
and, therefore, they must sign performance contracts. I want to believe that this is a wrong approach in handling teachers, bearing in mind that primary school teachers give us enough graduands and as a Government we have never had the capacity to offer enough spaces for these children in secondary schools. The secondary school teachers give us enough graduands to go to universities and as a Government, we have always failed to provide enough space in universities. The university lecturers also give us enough graduates and as a Government we have always been unable to provide employment to them. It is, therefore, imperative that the Ministry of Education while looking at issue of performance contracts ask themselves what they want to achieve by forcing teachers to sign performance contracts. This is because already they are performing. We are already failing to meet them even halfway. Now, why are we asking them to sign performance contracts? Mr. Speaker, Sir, the other issue that we need to look at very seriously is the partial free secondary education. We need to look at the country in general and national schools in this country. Look at the schools with the best facilities in this country. Why would a student in Garbatula not be given an opportunity like the student who lives in Kikuyu because of Alliance High School? The Ministry of Education needs to come up at least with a programme so that we have a model school for each constituency in this country which has all the facilities that are required so that at least every single child in our Republic has an opportunity to excel, just like those ones who happen to be in the right place and have access to better education facilities. Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Ministry of Education has, of course, tried but when you look at the way they are handling the whole thing, they are living on a very thin budget. There are many policy pronouncements that are made without clear planning. I want to believe that for some of the policy pronouncements like the free secondary education, I do not think we had put in enough planning to October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2503 understand the implication of the whole thing. We have an overflow of students in secondary schools and yet we have not put together the infrastructure to cater for these children. Just as it is in primary schools, we have had a lot of children coming out to go to schools and most of them end up learning under trees. It is important as a Government, that before we make certain policy pronouncements, to be sure that we are prepared for them. We should not just make them for the sake of political mileage. It is also important that as we make those policy pronouncements, we are prepared to ensure the quality of education and the conditions under which our children go to school are palatable and acceptable. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, for also recognising that this country is made of two equal members of the population. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I rise to support the Motion on the Floor and to congratulate the Minister for Education together with his able team for the manner in which they have conducted education in our country sometimes under very difficult circumstances. The education sector has continued to be the flagship of this country and administration in the Government. I say so because we have seen in the last two years, this country being able to give free primary education and partial free secondary education which is unique even in our region. There are not many other countries who have been able to do that. Whereas there are areas which still need to be addressed, I think we should appreciate what the Government and the Ministry of Education have been able to do. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I particularly want to pay tribute to the way they handled the crisis at the beginning of the year where children had to go to schools and the teachers had to work in hardship areas. Somehow, they were able to run schools in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. I personally visited such schools especially in Jamhuri Showground and Naivasha IDP Camp and I saw such schools being operated there. It was not easy. I want to pay tribute also to the teachers because they were under a lot of pressure and sometimes worked in dangerous situations. Mr. Speaker, Sir, however, having said that, I would also like to appeal to the Minister for Education that when it comes to equity especially on the gender area, we hoped that by now, with regard to bursaries, the girls were to have a 5 per cent over the boys. To be able to have that, it means an allocation of 55 per cent of the budget which we know in many constituencies, the girls do not even get 50 per cent or 40 per cent of what is given at the constituency level. That is why we have proposed to the Minister, if we could have 5 per cent of all bursaries left at the Ministry of Education to be administered at the gender desk which is already established. I want to congratulate the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and the team for establishing the Gender Desk. That way, those girls that get into difficulties because of their gender will get equity and have education. I hope that, that will be implemented soon. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would also like to say something in relation to education and health. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation on expanding of information on health to the education sector. What I am asking the Minister for Education is to look into whether we could re-introduce hygiene subjects in the curriculum. When we were all growing up, we were taught hygiene. That you must wash your hands after you use the toilet, open the windows when you wake up early, use the latrine--- In fact, there used to be very heavy fines for homesteads which had no toilets. That is something that my Ministry is embarking on. Next week, that is on 15th October, is the International Hand Washing Day. It is a United Nations (UN) day. It will be celebrated all over the world. Those are the messages that we would like to work together with the Ministry of Education by introducing hygiene. Children should be taught basic personal hygiene. If we can do that and keep our environment clean, we could reduce diseases by up to 70 per cent in our country. What kills many of our children are diseases like diarrhoea that are caused by poor hygienic conditions. 2504 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 So, that is something that we are very keen to work with the Ministry of Education and include it in our syllabus. Mr. Speaker, Sir, with regard to high education, more women should be involved in the administration of education. Whereas we see many women in the lower level, we still do not have enough and yet, they act as role models to young girls. Schools in my constituency have a problem of paying electricity bills. Power has been disconnected in many schools now. We know that power is important in the laboratories and other areas. We thank the President for his directive that taxes levied on the energy sector should be reviewed. But I also request the Ministry to look into ways of cushioning or adding a lit bit more support in the running of the schools, so that power is not disconnected. Mr. Speaker, Sir, there is a big shortage of teachers in Dagoretti. I am always told that when teachers are posted there, many of them do not want to stay there. They want to stay in Eastlands. I want to request the Minister that next time he employs teachers, he should make sure that they come from Dagoretti. They apply in big numbers. That way, they can remain there. There are some schools that have a shortage of as many as six teachers. When you compare the situation in Dagoretti and Eastlands, it is very worrying! There is no shortage of teachers in Eastlands. I know that there is a balancing exercise that was conducted. I was in that Ministry. But it did not work in some areas. So, we request that there is a review of the staffing of teachers. I also request for more teachers in Dagoretti, so that we can have equity as far as teachers' distribution is concerned. Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have food supplies to schools in slum areas. I know that some of the schools are not getting enough supply. So, I request the Ministry to also consider schools especially in the slum areas. They are facing very hard times, especially after the problems that we experienced at the beginning of the year. We have many households that do not have enough food to give to their children. When those children go to school, they are not able to follow the teaching. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Sir. I rise to support the Motion. I want to start by acknowledging that this Ministry has gone through a rather difficult year. We know that it started with the issues of exam leakages, went into the post-election crisis and, of course, the school strikes. So, it is with that background that I want to contribute. I would like to start by saying that I do recognise the role of the Minister and the officials of the Ministry of Education in trying to deal with the problems. That is because we know that education is one of the key sectors that contribute to the development of a country. I am privy to some discussions on introducing a curriculum that is meant to address the issue of post-election crisis. I read the other day about a new subject called "peace and conflict resolution" that is being introduced in schools. The Ministry has already sent teachers to go round the country to teach that subject. I would just like to caution that because we have not reached an area where we are sure of exactly what it is that we need to deal with on issues of post-election crisis, I would want to probably suggest to the Ministry that, as they go around on this issue of peace and conflict resolution, maybe, they need to first also look at the issue of teaching our young people how to appreciate people from other ethnic communities. I do believe those are some of the issues that we need to address, if we want to address the issue of post-election crisis. The issue of peace and conflict resolution, of course, comes into play. But this is after people have appreciated who they are. They are taught about character traits, values of other people and how to appreciate them. I really believe that is what the Ministry should first embark on, before we go into the issue of peace and conflict resolution. That is because our young people are really going to be the saviours of this country on the issue of tribal conflict.
October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2505
I want to also speak about the issue of teachers. I feel that we really must hold teachers accountable in one way or another. We cannot sweep it under the rag that teachers cannot sign performance contracts because of one reason or another. I do appreciate the hardships that teachers go through, especially on issues of remuneration and, probably, job satisfaction. But it is important because our children are the future of this country. Teachers should be held accountable for teaching and providing quality education. Therefore, if performance contracts would bring contention, the Ministry must come up with another way. But we cannot say that we will allow teachers to go scot-free while other Government institutions and bodies are being forced to sign performance contracts. That is because I do believe that this Government wants to improve in all the sectors. If education must improve, you will agree with me that teachers must also improve in service delivery. I also want to say that the method of training teachers, I believe, is a bit archaic. During the conversations that we were having during the school strikes, the Minister is aware that many people raised that issue. I was one of those who raised that issue because we have to move with the times. The Ministry must also move with the times. Therefore, teacher training must move with the times. We must find a way of training teachers that does not bore children. Children are bored! We are giving them a big workload and on top of that, they have boring teachers. The way to teach these days is interactive and more about experiments. It is a different way from lecturing, giving homework and taking punitive measures. So, I would like them to look at the issue of training of teachers. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to speak about informal schools or non-formal schools, because in Nairobi, we have these schools in a big number. I would like the Ministry to be clear on where exactly these schools fall in their plans for disbursement of funds. The students who go to these schools are like any other student and, therefore, must be put in their plans. I do not know where they have been put and I would appreciate if the Ministry, especially in urban areas like Nairobi, gave a lot of attention to non-formal schools because they are doing a great service. Even if they are not regulated well, they are offering a service because they are taking care of children from the slum areas. Also private schools, they have had a love-hate relationship with the Ministry for a long time. I would like to urge the Minister to bring on board the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA), because we cannot ignore the role that private schools play in this country. The KPSA should have a working relationship with the Ministry because these schools are also providing the same education that the Ministry is regulating. We cannot ignore the fact that most of the students who do well come from private schools, simply because of the better standards. We do not want a situation where students who go to public schools and private schools are put at a level at which they are supposed to be competing. I do not think it is fair! We must find a way to equalise the way that we deal with private and public schools. On the issue of children with special needs, in developed countries which have recognised that disability is not inability, children with special needs are not taken to special schools, but are rather integrated within the school systems that exist. That allows them to stop feeling isolated. They are already feeling isolated because of their disability but most of their disabilities do not hinder them from going to the same schools as other children. I would really encourage the Minister to allocate a good amount of money into integration programmes. I know schools that are working very well with this integration here in Nairobi, and I know that the Minister is aware of 2506 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 this. Please, find a way to make integration core in the issue of dealing with children with special needs. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to urge the Ministry to have a working committee with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Ministry of State for Public Service and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. I am worried that we are producing millions of young Kenyans and not creating jobs. That is why we are having a problem with unlawful groupings of young people who are frustrated. We are giving free primary and secondary school education; we are taking children to school but there is no marshall plan for job creation in this country. So, the Minister might be doing a beautiful job but he is producing frustrated young Kenyans, and I do not think that is what he wants to do. He must work with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Ministry of State for Public Service, because we must find out what it is that we must teach our young people in order for them to get jobs in our current market in this country and in Africa. There is no reason for us to bring out scientists upon scientists who cannot get jobs in Kenya, because we do not have that number of jobs. Maybe, it is about time we looked at our curriculum. As I said, if the Minister sits with the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, whom I had not noticed sitting next to him, I believe that we will solve the problem that we are having with the youth in this country, because we cannot have a productive country without productive youths who are well educated. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you very much, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to support this very important Vote and Ministry.It goes without saying that this Ministry is at the core of our economy. It is actually at the core of our existence as a nation. It is the Ministry that we want to create a prosperous and united Kenya. This is the Ministry that we want to be at every corner of this country in order to prepare the youth, so that they can feel Kenya has a place for everybody. Therefore, I think the Minister deserves to be given all the support by the House and other Ministries. I want to go straight to the point. First, is the welfare of the staff. When I talk about staff, I mean the teachers, because all of us were taught in our schools by teachers and we know the kind of economy we have now, and understand the challenges we face. It is, therefore, very important for the Minister to ensure that every time he is dealing with educational matters, his focus should be on how to improve the welfare of teachers in this country. Only when you improve their welfare will they feel motivated to train the young ones. On the issue of teachers, it is very sad that as we train very many teachers in this country, a huge chunk of the Kenyan people, particularly the pastoral communities, be they in Turkana, in Maasailand or in north eastern Kenya, do not get equal opportunities to go to training schools. They do not get the opportunity to become P1 teachers, because somebody somewhere in Nairobi--- I do not know whether they are in the Ministry of State for Public Service, and I want the Minister and the education officials here to be very sensitive when they are admitting students. If they wait for a memorandum to come from the Minister of State for Public Service to tell them who to train and at what level--- What has happened in the North Eastern Province, particularly, is that initially, we used to have our graduates from Form IV with a D+ grade getting admitted to primary school teacher training colleges to pursue a P1 course. That has now been elevated to grade C. This has effectively locked out a whole generation of young people from that part of the country from finding opportunities to be trained as teachers. At one stage, I had to go to the Ministry with a young girl with grade C- and I was told that, that grade was for the disabled. I said: "But this province is also disabled; consider it under that category!" How will it be possible to get students from the North Eastern Province in teachers training institutions, who can eventually go back and teach our young ones in the villages? The other day, when the Ministry was recruiting, in all the October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2507 constituencies in the North Eastern Province, recruiters were unable to get even 20 per cent of the local population for jobs in the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), because they are not trained. We have a training institution in Garissa; initially, the plan of the Ministry was to use the Garissa Teachers Training College as a catchment institution for the students who graduate from the region. If you go to the institution now, nearly 90 per cent of the students--- Of course, we have no problem with other Kenyans training there, but this goes against the spirit of the Ministry itself, which made it locate the institution in Garissa in the first place. So, I am sure that the Minister, the Permanent Secretary and all the officials sympathise with us when we visit them, but what we require is an affirmative engagement, so that from next year, they should reduce the qualification of students from the region, or at least those from the pastoral communities, to grade D+; I have put a substantive Question to the Minister regarding this matter. The House will be surprised to know that, perhaps, not more than 100 people were trained in the last few years from North Eastern Province. With the number of schools that we have, it is overwhelming to imagine that with the Free Primary Education Programme now, quite a number of young people would want to come and study. Therefore, the shortage of teachers can be addressed by changing the policy. Allow us to provide you with students with "D+" who will train as P1 teachers. Of course, you will say that their calibre is low. But that is what we have. That is what our institutions are able to produce. Those are the people who will be willing to work in the province when they get employed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, this brings me to a general change of policy by the Ministry itself. I mean, they need to think outside the box. How do you address the challenges faced by the nomadic communities in this country? How do they get possibilities like any other person to find training opportunities in this country? Therefore, I think there is need to form what I call the "National Nomadic Education Commission" so that, at least, it can be tasked to monitor the progress of education in that part of the country. That has not been done before and we have got countries in the region that are basically nomadic. I mean, in Nigeria, they have a huge nomadic community, and the Nigerian Ministry of Education has such a commission. Kenya, whose 70 per cent of the land mass is inhabited by the nomadic community, must have such a commission to address the particular problems facing that region. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the other one, of course, is the university intake. I think it is also right to say that the Ministry for Higher Education, Science and Technology should consider admitting students who get good grades, but who might not be able to meet the cluster points. Last year, in North Eastern Province, we had, for the first time, a young man who had an "A-" and he could not pursue a degree in medicine because of the cluster combination. He can only go and do it in the parallel degree programme and not in the regular programme. We got the generosity of the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs through the Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation, which is now assisting that young man to do medicine. But what we want is whether the Ministry, in fact, could identify the key students in every district who get "As". If they can pursue the parallel programme, I am sure they can also do it in the other programme. They should be given an opportunity to pursue that programme, so that they can be able to access the loans that the Government provides. Finally, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Minister can relate this to the Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology. I had an opportunity to visit Moi University, which has a huge population of all the Kenyan students in this country. You cannot access Moi University today. You take nearly three hours because of the condition of the road there. I think the Minister can liaise with the Minister for Roads and Public Works--- When I went to visit the University, they requested me: "Please, Mheshimiwa, you have visited us here. We have students from your constituency here. Could you, please, ask the Government to repair this road?" That road is only 15 2508 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 to 20 kilometres, but it takes two-and-half hours! It is so depressing for parents and students. It is high time we do something for that institution because it is as good as any other institution in this world. It is a first class institution and we are proud of it. I think there is something that the Ministry can do. Finally, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, on exam leakages, I want to thank the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). I think they have come out every time there is that crisis to reassure parents and students. But I think they must do more. Not only them, but the Kenya Police and the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) must do more to protect the integrity of our exams! As those students graduate, they must find job opportunities all over the world. Once you question the integrity of the certificates they are carrying, you destroy nearly all those years of education! Therefore, KNEC must liaise with the intelligence department even before those papers are printed. There is no use to display them after they have been printed. That is because, already, some damage has been done even before they are printed! There must be some ability by KNEC to protect the integrity of the exams. If they do not have, we must empower them with the resources and the necessary security gadgets they require in order to forestall that danger. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, with those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support the Motion. May I start by congratulating the Government for giving the highest priority to education by allocating the lion share of our national Budget to it. I would also like to congratulate the Government for tasking the finest of the fine in Kenya in terms of the men and women who oversee that very crucial Ministry, starting with the very able Minister, Prof. Ongeri, the Mover of this Motion, and the man who seconded this Motion, Prof. Saitoti, who was the former Minister. The Assistant Minister is another very able Prof. Olweny. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry is Prof. Karega Mutahi. The Secretary of Education is Prof. Godia. All those are very able Kenyans. By giving the best of the best, it also shows the priority and importance the Government attaches to education. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was very pleased to hear about the plans for the Early Childhood Development (ECD). It is a matter that came up even before we went on recess. Many of us have been very concerned at what the Government ascribes to the meaning of "basic education". When we talk of free primary and secondary education, we are of the view that free primary education should start with ECD. We have been fighting to see that those very committed ECD teachers, many of whom are not paid by the Government, are actually given the due recognition and are put on the payroll like the other teachers. That is because they play a very important role. I think they handle the child at the most delicate level; when the child leaves the home to come to school, the first person to receive that child at a very tender age, is that ECD teacher. I was very pleased to know that funds have been set aside and there are plans to have that very important part of our educational system integrated by 2010. I was very pleased to hear that. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I would also like to support what hon. Affey has said. I think they are the people who do the actual work to deliver in this very crucial area. They are the teachers. We have had the free primary education being celebrated as one of the success stories of the 21st Century. We have the free secondary education under way. The people who actually bear the brunt of the side effects as anything good--- There are side effects that come with this free primary and secondary education. We have been to schools in our constituencies where over- crowding is a problem. We have totally crowded classrooms and teachers have to deal with very, very difficult problems because of the limited physical facilities. You find that they are the ones bearing the brunt of what is happening in our schools. Yet, as we speak today, the teacher is one of the least paid servant of this Government. I am a son of a former school teacher. My mother, Mary Naliaka Wamalwa, was an October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2509 untrained primary school teacher and she was earning very little money. In fact, at the time, as an untrained teacher, I can remember it was very difficult for her to make ends meet as a mother. She had to go for training at Mosoriot Teachers Training College. After that, I think her payslip improved slightly. But still, when you look at the salary of a primary school teacher, you will be shocked. I think as we try to improve education, we must look into the welfare of teachers. We now have battle grounds with teachers threatening to go on strike. We are of the view that everything should be done to ensure that teachers are comfortable to enable them deliver, because all expectations are on them. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was very pleased to also hear that funds have been allocated for Kibabii Teachers Training College in Bungoma. It is one of the oldest riddles in Bungoma. We have heard of it for decades before this college was eventually started after the NARC Government came to power. I was very pleased to hear today that, indeed, funds have been allocated towards the construction of this college. I am sure that the people out there are very pleased to know that eventually, Kibabii Teachers Training College is getting some money and something is going to be done to have the college going. We had post-election violence, and there were several theatres of this conflict. Trans Nzoia District was one of them. There are schools that were affected by post-election violence and physical facilities were strained because of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). We know that the Ministry has been trying to do a lot to help such schools, but we still expected more emphasis to be put towards addressing problems facing schools that were affected by the post-election violence, including schools that were not affected but hosted IDPs, leading to their physical facilities getting strained and affected. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we are also aware that as a result of the post-election violence, many farmers were not able to farm. We know that as many children go to school now, they have no food. They leave their homes hungry. We have seen photographs of what is happening in the Eastern Province. We would have expected some emphasis to be put towards the School Feeding Programme (SFP) to address the problem of children from poor homesteads who hardly have anything to eat. However good a teacher is, if a child leaves a home hungry and goes back home hungry, that child will not be able to hear anything that the teacher says. There has to be focus and direction on the issue of SFP to enable children get some food and be able to learn. There is also the problem of shortage of teachers in areas which were affected by violence. During the recess, I toured 11 locations in my constituency, in Trans Nzoia West District. I was surprised to learn that one school called Sikinwa Primary School, with a population of 1,200 pupils, had only four teachers. So, the four teachers could only occupy four classrooms at a time and pupils in the other classrooms had to bask outside. Some would go home without being taught. This is a crisis which needs to be addressed urgently, so that the education standards in the country are not affected. This is happening particularly in Trans-Nzoia and Mt. Elgon districts, and other districts like Uasin Gishu, which were affected by the post-election violence. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we know that we need to cater for and prepare in advance because of the upsurge in enrolment in primary schools. As the Minister has indicated, five to ten years to come, where will these children go? We need to build new secondary schools. We need to prepare to absorb the many children who have enroled as a result of the Free Primary Education Programme (FPEP). I was very pleased to learn that, indeed, the Ministry is concerned, and we are taking well the advice of the Minister that in allocating CDF funds towards construction of new secondary schools, we should do so in consultation with the education officers. I was very surprised to learn that in my constituency, there are locations that have no secondary schools. After going round the locations and comparing notes with the District Education Officer, our proposals 2510 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 of new secondary schools to be constructed in Saboti Constituency actually fitted like hand in glove with the proposals that the Education Office already has. They have identified the needs of certain locations where secondary schools should be built. Indeed, we need to have more consultations and partnership in this area, so that we can build more secondary schools in preparation to absorb the many children who have benefited from the FPEP. Finally, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have the problem of students attaining the age of 18 without getting ID cards in secondary schools. We need the Ministry to address this problem and make it possible for students to be issued with ID cards as they leave Form Four. It is very important to do so. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to support this Vote, noting that the Ministry of Education is very important in this country. It is also a very important Ministry to us in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. I rise to support the development of sporting talents in primary schools. I would like to suggest to my colleague, Prof. Sam Ongeri, and the other colleagues who have been identified very clearly by my colleague, Mr. Wamalwa, that we develop a partnership of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, so that we can work together to identify sporting talent that is resident amongst primary school and secondary school children. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we are willing to work together with our colleagues in the Ministry of Education, so that children who are talented in the various sports can be directed as they leave primary school to join schools which have the capacity to enable them develop their talents in the various sports. For instance, Maseno High School is very good in basketball, while Lugulu Girls High School is very good in hockey. I do not know whether Iten Secondary School is still good in athletics. There are also schools which are good in swimming. So, when talented children join appropriate secondary schools, they will continue to develop those skills. As we have seen, sporting is an industry in itself. We, in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, appreciate the work that is being done by the Ministry of Education. We would like to work together to ensure that after talented children leave primary school, they can be directed to join organisations that will support further development of their sports. They can, perhaps, join organisations, or even the disciplined forces, which support the development of the sporting talent that is resident amongst our young people. This is important, given that even one of the flagship projects of Vision 2030 is the development of our sports academy. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is important, therefore, for the Ministry to be supported, so that it can have enough money. I know that the Ministry has a good allocation, but it should have money that can be used to develop sporting activities. I also want to suggest to my colleagues in the Ministry of Education that, perhaps, by working together with the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, they can be able to develop some tailor-made courses for sportsmen and sportswomen in this country. We have seen that amongst those who did very well in the just ended Olympics and Paralympics are very young people. They are very young teenagers who still need to continue with their educational pursuits. So, I want to suggest that tailor-made courses be organised for these young men and young women, so that they can be able to continue with studies as they run or participate in the various sporting activities, so that they can be empowered. As they do these courses within our colleges and universities, they will become effective role models for younger Kenyans in primary and secondary schools. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I also want to say that I am very pleased to hear that Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers are going to be supported. As has been said, their role in supporting the development of our children cannot be over-emphasized. October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2511 Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I also want to suggest that as the Ministry considers the issue of teachers, my constituency does not have enough teachers. We have been told that Koibatek District within which Mogotio Constituency is located has enough teachers. However, I want to request my colleague, that we be assisted. In my constituency, there are schools which do not have enough teachers. This is basically because some of these schools are in very dry and remote areas with no facilities. I want to request that the Ministry considers supporting those schools. We need teachers. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the Ministry could also provide medical facilities to support the teachers posted to those schools. Their children could also be enroled in good nursery schools. This will facilitate them to assist the students in those schools. I would like to request the Ministry that as they develop schools, for example, in my constituency I have only one girls' school known as Mogotio Secondary School. I would like to be assisted to have another girls' school. We are willing to add some money from the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) to help construct another school where the girls can be admitted and participate in nation building by being successful in their academic pursuits. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to commend my colleagues for their efforts in dealing with issues of examination cheating. We need to look at the issues of examinations so that we maintain the standards that this country is known for. Let us deal with issues that perhaps affect examinations in this country. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute briefly to this Motion. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support the Vote. I support the Minister and his senior officers in the way they handled some of the crisis we had been through the other day. The post election violence is not the biggest crisis that we have had. I think the other big crisis that should go to the annals of history of this country is the schools' strike. I want to thank the Minister because he came out very clearly and put his political life on the line. I would also like to thank his officers for putting that thing to an end. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, they need a lot of support, especially from parents and Parliamentarians. This is because we cannot go on with violence in schools and think we have a system of education that can help this country for years to come. These students have to be disciplined. These students must know that they talk about being leaders of tomorrow. How can you be a leader of tomorrow when you start by burning dormitories with your friends and so forth? I want it to be known that I personally support the Minister. Surprisingly, he has been my colleague and pal for a long time. We have been in and out of the Government together. Therefore, we kind of think the same way. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I do not want to annoy the Minister but I would want to say that this free and compulsory education in certain regions in this country is amiss. It must be known very clearly. If our children in pastoral community do not have teachers, what do you expect? What an intelligent and well thinking man knows is that people from those areas cannot get education. If you do not have teachers, then you do not have education. This free and compulsory education, as I said, has been amiss in certain areas. I know very well that our communities have now agreed to send their children to school. It is not like many years ago. They now know that it is important to send children to school. But where do they go? They have no teachers! Their parents are not even capable of employing as many teachers as they want to teach in their schools. So where do they go? They play around in the play grounds, gather some dirty bad habit and go home. That is what it is! Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, although the other day the Minister corrected me, I 2512 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 have always known that the greater Narok has been short of 1,600 teachers. What do you expect in an area like that? It shows very clearly that those children are going to be slaves of other children from other communities and regions. It is true! If you look at some small things like admissions into colleges; teachers colleges, medical colleges and other colleges, about three years ago, they said the entry point was grade D Plus. Now, they have raised it to grade C. It is true that some of these areas like where I come from and where my friend Mr. Affey comes from, are being discriminated.
This is done deliberately and purposely for the reason of trying to make us permanent slaves of other people in this country. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, if you do not have education, then definitely you are destined to serve other people. You are destined to disappear completely. You know, when they talk of "compulsory", I can tell you that the only compulsory education that I saw myself and was part of it, was during the colonial time. This is because today, I would not have gone to school if it was not a white man who came to my father, grabbed me and took me to school. There would not have been a Ntimama today, with all the successes and all the shortcomings like all human beings. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we can blame other people but you know, I have read a little bit of the story of the Americans. You remember the way our people were shipped to America, naked and in chains. However, when they arrived there, somehow, the Americans called the slaves' children and sent them to school by force. They could not stand the sons and daughters of the slaves. There would not have been a struggle of civil rights if Martin Luther King did not go to school. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we know that our Independence would have been delayed, or probably forgotten altogether, if the late Jomo Kenyatta had not gone to school. In Nyanza, the late Oginga Odinga was educated and that was why he fought for the release of the late Kenyatta. Some of these things must be recognised, whether we like it or not. That is why I want to say that this question of not giving some people teachers is just a properly and well organized system of destining those children as slaves of other people. Affirmative action is not only for giving women jobs or business opportunities, but under it, we try and make sure that other people are deliberately given an opportunity to come up. During Mr. Moi's regime, we had extra classes; Mr. Moi said that some children with low marks could be attached to schools like Maasai Girls. As soon as the current Government came in, those classes disappeared. We know that they had not passed well, but how do you pass well when you have no teachers. How do you compare a child in North Eastern Province or Maasailand with a child who is already having computer classes and the area he comes from is over-staffed? It is unfair. These are things that must be dealt with in this country. As far as I remember - I have been in the public service for long, including being in councils, Parliament--- I was also a teacher along time ago; I have always known that we have been short of teachers. How do you explain these things? If we do not start applying fairness, justice and equity, especially in education--- We need a deliberate system of shifting financial and human resources to some of these areas and uplifting them. For example, I know we have shortcomings in some of these areas like the arid areas, because we have cattle rustling and other things, which are not comfortable. But we need a plan to help the rural pastoralist areas, so that children in them are not destined for slavery as far as this country is concerned. Leaving them like that means that they are going to be slaves of other people. That is what some of us do not agree October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2513 with. We do not want tokenism. We want a proper plan . With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to support this very important Vote for the Ministry of Education. As you have heard, this is a Ministry which is the pillar of any nation's growth, development and prosperity. So, it is very important that we all support the Ministry. I wanted to congratulate the Minister for being attentive and taking notes. The Minister, his Assistant, the Permanent Secretary and other officials in the Ministry are highly educated and trained people. It is time for the Ministry to develop some kind of criteria. Hon. Members have brought up issues in Parliament. They have talked about retirement age and so on. I have thought about it and I think we need to protect the position, because I eventually learnt that lecturers and professors in the universities are supposed to retire at the age of 70 years and above. We need to develop a criteria, so that we do not have negative publicity. When somebody is doing a very important job as what the Minister, the Assistant Minister and the Permanent Secretary are doing, it is good for the public to know that we need a professor in the Ministry of Education as a Permanent Secretary because that is the source of what we need to do for a country. We cannot talk about engineers, quantity surveyors and building experts like myself without talking about the Ministry of Education. I want to congratulate the Minister and also thank him because he has been very keen on what we have been discussing in this House, after we came back from the chaos that we went through at the beginning of the year. We raised here an issue about the recruitment of teachers. He made a promise here and went and acted on it. We recently talked about the issue of recruitment and improvement of terms of service for teachers. He has assured us that they are acting on that. I think this is key. There is no point of saying that we are doing this or that when the teachers who are supposed to be taking care of the children are not taken care of. In fact, many of them grumble a lot. For us who go to schools and meet the teachers, they grumble a lot that they are taking care of the children for free. I think the composition of the top rank in the Ministry is reason enough for us to say that the Ministry should be more proactive and come up with schemes or programmes which can drive the country. The issue of saying that you cannot recruit teachers or increase their salaries because you depend on Treasury should be something of the past. In his contribution, the Minister was thanking development partners. The Free Primary Education Programme was introduced in a hurry, but we got a lot of support from outside and there is no reason why we cannot say or look around to see whether we can recruit teachers for our schols. It should not be a perennial problem. That way, we will not keep on saying that we want to recruit 6,000 teachers or we are chasing a horse which has already bolted. So, we will not be able to achieve what we intend to achieve as a country. A number of years back during the Moi Regime, we did not have much to do with the Chinese but now, with the Kibaki Government, we are dealing with the Chinese and I can see that there is a lot going on. When I was working in the Civil Service, we did not want to recognise that Chinese contractors are here. If you look at the roads which are being constructed by the Chinese, for example the Nairobi-Nakuru-Kisumu Road, it is being done well. Why can we not look for funding rather than just depend on people who used to depend on us. The British depended on the revenue that they were collecting from us to survive, and we are still following them, and want to identify with them. It is time we thought more seriously and moved forward. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, people are talking about hardship areas. There are Maragoli Hills and we have two schools there. I have been wishing that we had a way of treating those areas as hardship areas, because when I go to those schools, Musunguti and Kisingiru, I do not feel like going there again because of the terrain. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, when you go to those places, you do not feel like 2514 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 going there again and yet, teachers are supposed to commute every morning and evening. One day, somebody from the Ministry of Education or the Teachers Service Commission was saying: "You know these days, teachers are paid house allowances and other allowances and they should be able to stay where they are." But you know in human nature, you cannot force somebody to stay where he or she does not like. So, there should be options. I want to just very quickly mention something about the TSC. In Kenya at the moment, we have got people who have retired and yet they still look young. I think they are all over the country. We have talked a number of times about decentralising the TSC. We cannot be talking about the welfare of teachers and then expect them to be coming to the TSC Headquarters in Nairobi everytime they have issues. I do not think we are being fair to teachers. Even issues of promotions take a long time because of bureaucracy. I wish with the kind of talent that we have in the Ministry now, we can think outside the box and decentralise the TSC. We should be able to get many commissioners all over the country to run offices out there with the control from the head office. The Kenya National Library Service is supposed to be complimenting what we are doing to improve the literacy level in this country. I have been wondering why the Kenya National Library Service is not under the Ministry of Education. As we talk about funding the national libraries to have branches in every constituency, we would like to attach them to schools and not to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. I highly recommend that, through the Chair, the Minister discusses with his colleagues to see how the Kenya National Library Service can be under his docket. There is the issue of transition. We have had a lot of changes. Once, we have had the Ministry of Basic Education, Higher Education and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. Now, we have the Ministry of Education and that of Higher Education, Science and Technology. I have been trying to think about transition. The Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports talked about co-operating with the Ministry of Education. But the way I see it myself, the Ministry of Education should be at the centre of co-ordinating all that. As we talk about computers in schools, ICT business and so on, we need the Ministry of Information and Communications. We need the Ministry of Energy to provide power so that we can be computer literate in our schools. That is very important. I think we should look at it in a bigger way. Okay, I know there are Committees in the Cabinet for infrastructure and so on. Why can we not have one chaired by an able Minister like this one, to put together all that kind of stuff? With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I rise to support this Motion. But, at the same time, I want to apologise for the misunderstanding because hon. ole Ntimama's name and mine sound quite identical. So, I did not mean to overtake him. The Minister has presented this Motion in a very comprehensive way. He touched on many achievements. I totally want to agree with the Minister that, although a lot has been achieved, we still need to do a lot. He requires the support of this House to achieve more. I know I do not have a lot of time. I want to touch on some key points regarding this Motion. First, the beginning and basics of learning start from pre-primary schools. I remember very well that a few months ago, the Minister promised to consider creating job groups for pre-primary school teachers. There are a lot of complaints and disquiet in that area. My kind request to the Minister is to create jobs for pre-primary school teachers. Productivity has also been circumvented by complaints by primary school teachers. Primary school teachers have complained of not being October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2515 considered as part of the society. There are complaints that their job groups are different from other civil servants. In the Civil Service, you find a divisional officer who is referred to as a District Officer has got a different salary. Teachers feel that they are squeezed. This is one area that the Minister must look into. He has to make sure that the salaries of teachers are harmonised with those of the other civil servants. The other issue that I want to raise is about secondary schools. There is lack of secondary schools. At the beginning of the year, secondary school spaces are taken by certain students. There are so many students who miss secondary schools. My kind request to the Ministry of Education is to consider having a secondary school between every two primary schools to make sure that Standard VIII leavers join such secondary schools. There is an issue of lack of teachers. In my constituency, there are double stream schools with 500 to 600 students and only seven to nine teachers. There is no way such a number of teachers can cope with over 700 students. That is a very serious issue. The Minister did very well the other day by trying to increase the number of teachers. We all know that the Budget controls Government expenditure. But with all due respect, I want to suggest that the money that is allocated to the Ministry should be increased so that more teachers could be hired. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, our secondary schools are faced with the same problem of shortage of teachers. The poor parents have been forced to employ teachers through the Parents, Teachers Association (PTA). They are the same parents who want to be assisted. They are the same people the Government is trying to offload the burden of paying secondary school fees, but now they are being asked to hire additional teachers. That is not helping to reduce their burden. At the end of the day, many teachers end up not being paid their salaries. Consequently, they have been forced to quit their teaching career simply because the poor parents cannot afford to pay them. This also applies to primary schools. Parents are heavily burdened and they are not in a position to pay teachers who are employed by the PTAs. With the funds that have been availed, the Minister will not be able to cope with the demand for teachers. Even though, certain efforts must be made to ensure that the burden has been taken away from parents. We represent the people who elected us. We are, therefore, leaders and people expect us to show the way. Every day, we are forced to answer questions such as why the parents should hire teachers. The Kshs106 billion shown in the Ministry's Budget is Kshs10 billion more than what was provided for in the last financial year. That is a great effort by the Government. The Ministry should be given special credit for being very candid in terms of providing answers in the House on matters to do with education. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, as I said before, salaries must be harmonised. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you very much, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute in support of this Motion. First of all, I would like to commend the Ministry for the efforts it has made in managing the education system, particularly this year after the post-election crisis. It was critical for the Ministry to implement FSEP at the time we had just come from the 2007 General Election crisis, but it managed to implement the policy. The Ministry has taken over the Adult Education Program which for many years has not been effective. I hope that now the Ministry of Education has taken up that programme, they are going to perform and we will see the results. We expect the teachers in the Adult Education Programme to work so that we can see better performance in that area. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the quality of our education was threatened when it was alleged that there was leakage of examinations last year. Although the Ministry handled the issue well, it is true that there were leakages. That affects the quality, credibility and, generally, the image of the education system in the country. So, I hope that has been addressed and we shall not have any more leakages in our 2516 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 schools. We have quality assurance officers who are charged with the responsibility of assessing the education and teaching standards. We have had problems, particularly in my district, whereby we do not have enough staff to foresee quality assurance. Even the quality assurance officer who was in charge of the district has not been there. One came at one time, but he was transferred. I hope small issues such as this one will be addressed by the Ministry so that we have good education management in our districts. Sometime ago, the Ministry of Education wrote to District Education Boards (DEBs) to set up centres of excellence for secondary schools. They advised that we choose two schools in every districts, that is, one for girls and another one for boys as centres of excellence. We have never heard any response after we forwarded the names of the schools. It looks like this issue was forgotten. I do not know what the current position of the Ministry of Education is on this matter. I do not know whether they will pursue this issue of setting up centres of excellence so that we do not rely only on the national schools, for example, Alliance High School. If we develop centres of excellence, they will assist in developing education in many areas. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the recent strikes in our schools was a big challenge to the Ministry of Education. We appreciate the way the matter was handled. We hope that this problem will be addressed adequately because it is not proper for children to burn schools. Something must have gone wrong. I hope the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology will come up with recommendations that will be taken seriously by the Ministry. However, one of the issues that could have led to the strikes is that if you go to certain secondary schools, you will realise that the headteachers in those schools have stayed there for, say, ten years and everybody is tired of them. Even the teachers in those schools are tired of their headteachers. Some teachers overstay in one school for over ten years. We need to transfer the teachers after working in one school for a period of, say, ten years or so. Nobody should overstay in a place until he or she retires. A change is as good as a rest. Let us have some changes in our institutions. Let us transfer teachers so that we can have a new brand who will run the schools. I want to support the idea of introducing ICT in all our primary and secondary schools. We need to introduce computer lessons in our schools. We are moving into ICT and this country will set up a computer village. There is a provision for that in the Budget. We, therefore, should move fast enough so that we can have the current generation learning ICT. The payment of Kshs10,000 for the secondary education is being overtaken by inflation. The cost of living has gone up. Food prices, the cost of electricity, fuel prices and travelling expenses have all gone up. I hope the Ministry is looking into this matter in an attempt to even adjust the Supplementary Budget. The idea was to assist parents who were unable to pay. Over 60 per cent of our population are poor people. They need to be supported. The FSEP is not really free. I think I would call it free day secondary education. This is because the money provided caters only for the day secondary schools. It does not cater for boarding. However, if it can be enhanced in future, it will assist very much. The cost of living has gone up and I hope the Ministry will convince the Treasury to give it more funds. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have low cost boarding primary schools in arid and semi-arid areas of the country which I would like the Ministry to continue supporting. There is an arid area in my constituency with such schools and the support from the Ministry is very little. I hope the Ministry will support the local boarding primary schools especially in those areas where education standards are still low and they are still disadvantaged up to now. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the allocation for secondary schools bursaries is low in the current Budget. I do not know the reason why. We used to have about Kshs800 million allocated for bursaries for secondary schools. We still require these bursaries because most of our students still go to boarding schools and the parents are unable to pay for boarding facilities. Even October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2517 if we say we are paying for tuition through the free secondary education allocation, we still require to continue with the bursary scheme. It is very important and I hope that you will enhance this amount rather than reducing it like I see it has come down. I think we need to maintain what we have and even increase it, considering that the cost of education is very high. Let us still support it. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, on Early Childhood Education (ECD), I hope this can be fast tracked. About two years ago, we envisaged that it will be taken over in 2008/2009 as part of the primary education so that it is streamlined. We hope that nursery schools will be part of the management of primary schools and the teachers will be employed by the Ministry. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to talk about the school feeding programme which is very vital. Many families in the country cannot afford lunches and children really persevere a lot since there are poor people all over the country. We should support this programme. If the World Bank lends its support, we should encourage it to continue supporting it because Kenya is still a poor country. We cannot afford to do without this help. It assists to help children continue learning. I also want to talk about teacher training colleges. In my constituency or district, we have a teachers training college and it admits only four students from the whole district. We call it a joke because it is located there and yet it does not have any student from around that area. We know it is a national institution but at least give us a fair number of students. It will even assist those parents to cut the costs of travelling very far. It is very expensive these days to travel all the way to Garissa to train as teachers. Let those in Garissa go to institutions near Garissa and let us have at least a policy where we reduce the number of those travelling very far and those accommodating the colleges should have a fair share. Let them have slightly more numbers rather than admitting students from far areas. With those few remarks, I support.
Thank you, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this very important Motion. It is important because it touches on a very important sector. I support this Motion because recently we had the hon. Minister in the greater Narok where he officiated over a very important function and he addressed quite a number of issues in that forum. I want to echo the sentiments of my colleague, Mr. ole Ntimama, who said that there are a lot of challenges for this Ministry of Education. When he said that, I am standing as somebody who comes from some of these districts which are actually marginalised. These are hardship areas. They are marginalised and for many years, traditionally they have been performing very poorly. These are districts within this country. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, when I was with the Minister in that function, I echoed the same sentiments. What is wrong that we never perform like other districts? The facts are known. These are hardship areas. They are far from development. Some are actually at the periphery of this country and, therefore, it is a problem for the Government officers to reach there. So, the issue of infrastructure is a big problem when it comes to performance in some of these areas. I am glad because the Ministry of Education has come up with a way of trying to address infrastructure in certain areas. Recently when I was in the District Education Board (DEB) meeting, this issue of infrastructure came up; how those in inaccessible areas can be accessed. So, if that one can be addressed, I think it will contribute to some of these critical areas performing like other areas. I want to encourage the Ministry to go in that direction because those are some of the things that are actually good indicators. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we are talking of this Grand Coalition Government and we are saying that it must perform. One of the indicators of performance is in the education sector because you cannot talk of development without talking about education. It is the key to 2518 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 everything. So, I am saying these are some of the challenges we have and I want to commend the Ministry for that. There is the issue of public schools versus private schools. This is an issue that has always been coming to my mind because you find that private schools are for the rich. Our children are in those schools. We are not rich but they are there. We are paying dearly for them to be there. The public schools are left for the poor Kenyans. Now, one wonders who owns these private schools. Is it the same teachers? Is it the Ministry officials? Is it the rich in society who are trying to kill the public schools? This is because if you go to a public primary school like one in my constituency, you will find about 1,000 children in one primary school and you expect about ten teachers to teach them. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we talk of free primary education. Yes, we have the numbers. The classrooms are full of pupils but in those schools you only find, maybe, eight or seven teachers. In a class of 60 or 70 pupils, there is one teacher. How will that school be expected to perform? We go around and say yes, we are providing free primary education. We have sung that song. We have boasted about it even internationally; that we have given free primary education, but is it quality or quantity that we get? These are some of the challenges stalking the Ministry of Education and I think they should try to measure up to them. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, when we talk of the budget that was presented before this House, the amount is colossal but we hope it will also reach every corner of this country. It should not be concentrated in certain urban areas like what teachers are doing. This is because if you compare a school in the rural areas and one in the urban areas, you will notice that teachers are overflowing in urban schools but in the rural schools you can hardly get them there. So, there is inequality in the distribution of teachers. So, through the Chair, I want to address the honourable Minister and tell him that there should be that equal distribution of teachers. There should be that deliberate effort. As my colleague, hon. ole Ntimama, said, we must make those radical changes. All the children in this country are Kenyan children, whether they are in the furthest corner of this country, or here in Nairobi. Unless we do that, we will be coming here, singing the same songs everyday. So, I want to appeal to the hon. Minister to make those deliberate and radical changes. We are crying as marginalised communities. It has been the cry over the years, but we have not seen any change. Regimes have come and gone, but we are still where we were. But I am praying that this time round, when we have the Grand Coalition Government, we are going to see positive changes in this sector of education. When we talk about entry points to teachers training colleges, you cannot expect a child in a certain hardship area to perform like an advantaged child here in Nairobi. But you will find that they are rated in the same way. If it is a "C" and above, you can hardly get those marks in some of these disadvantaged areas which are known to be hardship areas. So, what we are requesting is that there should be that deliberate effort to address some of these issues. Recently, we got an allocation of 137 students to join teacher training colleges. But the local people were only able to get 30 students. The remaining number was to be split all over the country. The beneficiaries are people who are using that district as a stepping stone. Once they finish their training, they go back to their home districts. Now, we go back to where we started. These are the issues that the Ministry should sit down and solve. The Ministry should ensure that once those teachers finish their training, they should go back to teach in schools in the districts where they were recruited for a number of years. That is because the moment they finish colleges, all of them are transferred. They go back to where they want. So, the districts from where they were recruited do not benefit. These are some of the critical areas that need to be addressed. I am saying that looking at the Minister and believing that he is going to take note and see what can be done. We are just pleading to be heard. We are not October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2519 complaining for nothing. It is bitter! Something can be painful but it can help. So, as much as some people might think that we have no issues, they are there. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, tuition is another issue that is on focus. The Ministry should come up with some guidelines regarding that issue. That is because there is tuition still going on even when schools are closed. The amounts that are charged for tuition are not known. Some parents are being exploited. Some of these things can mean a lot. Either the child is over- worked or the parents are over-charged. The morale of some parents actually goes down as a result. The moment you refuse to pay for tuition for that child, they start harassing him or her. So, something radical needs to be done to try to improve education in this country. That is because right now, in some areas, there is a problem. We must face that problem head on. I am encouraging the Minister to do that because there is a big problem. The issue of private schools against public schools is another challenging problem which we also need to address. Otherwise, much has been said about hardship areas. Teachers' promotions in some of those areas is limited. I do not know why. Teachers actually have a problem in getting promoted in some of those areas. So, that should also be evenly distributed so that their morale is also boosted. Those are some of the issues which I wanted to address. I beg to support this very important Motion.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the Motion that the Minister has elaborated very comprehensively. We have taken what he has said. But I also want him to note our concerns as regards to what is "eating" his Ministry and some of the concerns of the parents. First, I want to say that education is not static anywhere in the world. Education has trends that are dynamic. Those dynamics are dictated by social changes, political visions like the one we have - Vision 2030 - and economic policies of the country. In this country, we have a lot that we are putting in our plates and our children are expected to eat it all. For them to be fed or shown how to eat, we need a vibrant teaching profession. We need teachers to be happy and not to be psyched into wanting to know what their unions are doing. Actually, the Government should be ahead of the unions. That is because if it is the trade unions that will be dictating the terms, then that momentum of teachers wanting to work will be lost. For this reason, while I appreciate what the Minister did to suppress the strike that was coming from the Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), I would urge that he handles the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) also very quickly so that, at this time when teachers are very busy preparing the pupils, they are not also directed to another place of wanting to know what their union is saying about their welfare. Let that welfare be the concern of the Ministry, parents and the union. If that is so, even what we are debating about performance contracts and other things may not necessarily be there. There will not be much of a debate. So, the welfare of teachers and their salaries should be paramount for the trends in education to be taken care of very well. They are the ones who adapt to any kind of educational change and impart it to the children. I would also like the Ministry to know that headteachers who have had some kind of managerial and administrative training perform very well. They should have in-service courses and other courses and training for headteachers who have been appointed. That is because, sometimes, a headteacher is appointed and it takes up to five years before he undergoes any training. When I was appointed a headteacher in January, I attended courses in April, August and December. I graduated in that December. I had three months of training as a headteacher. I can assure you that I was a very effective headteacher. Further to that, the Ministry found me very hard working and sent me abroad to study. That is because it recognized my work. But these days, the work of teachers is not recognized. Those who are recognized are appointed as administrators instead of being sent elsewhere and come and do the administration in the classroom. So, we deny the administration in 2520 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 the classrooms very effective teachers. We should be concerned about the abuse of drugs in our schools. That is a very dangerous trend. I knew of a place in our area where the headteachers knew who was trafficking the drugs. Whenever the police were called, those headteachers were cautioned and received threatening messages from the drug traffickers. It is upon the Ministry to assure the headteachers of their safety, so that they can expose some of those drug traffickers because they are known. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, currently, we have street boys; they are emerging when they had gone away. It should be the Ministry's concern that if we have free education, why should we have street boys in our towns? Why is it that they are coming back? What is wrong? What can be done to ensure that they are in schools? There is a very sensitive issue that is coming up here, namely gender. When you talk of the girl child, in Meru, where I come from, I talk of the gender of the boy child. The boy child is the one who is at risk where I come from. If you are giving money for girls in other areas, give money for boys in Imenti North District. So, let us have parity! We have statistics. Why do we not look at statistics and see that a specific area needs a specific gender to be encouraged while another area needs the other gender to be encouraged instead of talking of the boy child and the girl child? Here I have always heard of the girl child emphasis while the contrary is true elsewhere. On the issue of guidance and counselling, we would like the teachers who are doing this to be recognised and allocated special duties. They should be the ones who should handle discipline in the schools, because children these days are not caned. We appreciate that the cane cannot come back, no matter how much we talk. This is a different age with different trends that is with it. We cannot go back to the cane. I would stand and be canned ten or 20 times; the teacher did whatever he wanted to do and I would walk away. But today I cannot give my boy a cane; he will run out of the home. Finally, because we have money that we promised each school, we need to disburse it. In Imenti North District, secondary schools did not get their operations money. They got it for the third term but what happened to the second term? This kind of imbalance causes a lot of problems. The teachers will go to the wrong vote, get the money and when you give the fees guideline--- Once there is a need for fees guidelines like now, bear in mind that food and fuel costs are very expensive; so, we need a revision of the fees guidelines very quickly. Otherwise, if things go wrong in the schools, we will start to see a series of other strikes. Let us arrest the situation before such strikes arise. Let us make good use of all our facilities in all the schools. Whatever we have should be utilised to the maximum. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank you for granting me this opportunity; at the same time I thank the Minister for Education for very ably presenting his Vote in the House. I also extend the same remarks to the Permanent Secretary, who is in charge of the Ministry for the manner in which he responded to the crisis that we experienced in our nation. As I support this Vote, I wish to give more attention to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). I would urge the Minister to, maybe, think of allocating more funds to the KNEC, because its is a nerve centre of the entire nation. I recall that in the past, we have had very serious concerns which have not really been addressed! More caution and attention must be given to that Council. More funds are required to provide better security for the materials because we realize that security could have been the problem at the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). The storage of the materials could also have been a problem. That is an issue that needs to be addressed properly. The delivery system of the materials to the centres where the examinations are done is also a concern. I think examination materials are even transported October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2521 in matatus! We should be able to improve the mode of delivery of those materials. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the other issue that needs to be addressed very seriously is about the personnel who man the KNEC. Those are people who need to be vetted and, if need be, by the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS). They should be people of professional integrity whose word will be taken very seriously by our people in this nation. The leadership of the KNEC should be beyond any doubt. It is a position, maybe, that should be taken by somebody of great prudence; somebody who is really credible and whose background, in the minds of the Kenyan people, is taken very seriously. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the other issue that qualifies for more funds is the computerisation programme of KNEC. We recall vividly in our minds that the Minister blamed a computer error. We need to give more funds so that the Ministry could acquire modern computers so that, that problem is really behind us. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, another area that the Ministry of Education should give more thought about is the management of our institutions. The appointment of principals, primary school heads and boards of governors needs to be addressed seriously if we really need to improve the quality and standards of education in our schools. If you wanted to have a heart operation in this country, you would really have to go to Nairobi Hospital or Kenyatta National Hospital and consult Prof. Asego or somebody else. Similarly, we should look for the best people to man our institutions. Such people must be checked and paid properly. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, regarding the bursaries that we have been giving to the students in our institutions, they have been of better use and relief to the parents. But, time and gain, the bursaries have been late. Regarding food, it has been another issue. The Ministry should liaise with the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to make sure that secondary schools get cheaper food. About the workers in our schools, they are poorly paid and a review must be done! Regarding the under-staffing in our schools, why are our trained teachers moving across the border to Tanzania? Why are we wasting our resources? Why should we train people only for them to go to Tanzania, Eritrea or to other areas? Are our schools seriously overstaffed? Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, regarding the flight or exodus of students from this nation to Uganda, this is an issue that we should consider so that we retain the students here and provide the best standards of education here. That is because every year, the Ugandan Government admits about 20,000 students from Kenya. That translates to about Kshs150 million going across the border. We need to do something about that! Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, we should not wait as a Ministry and as a Government to be given a warning by KUPPET and KNUT. We are then frightened and kneel down telling them: "Allow our kids to sit for the examinations". There is another warning by KUPPET that come January, 2009, the teachers will be on strike. Let us be committed! Let us bring all those bodies together so that we can contain the problems! Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, concerning the issue of quality of teaching in our schools, let us improve the number of Quality Assurance Officers. Three hundred Quality Assurance Officers are very few to manage all the schools in the country. Let us improve their numbers and give them motor vehicles, and not motorbikes, and ensure that every district, every constituency and every other unit is manned by those officers. Three hundred is a very small number. However, we should thank the Minister because they have already started the safari with 300 Quality Assurance Officers. I hope that next time, the Minister will tell us that they have employed 2,000 or 3,000 Quality Assurance Officers. The issue of drug abuse in schools is of great concern. We need to put in place mechanisms that would contain drug abuse in our schools. Most of the problems we have experienced in our 2522 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 schools were triggered and led by drunken students. This is a big problem which we need to address, as a Ministry and as a community. We realise that some students in our schools market and sell drugs. This is an issue which causes a lot of concern to parents. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, regarding the issue of school fees, our schools now are affected by accumulated debts running into billions of shillings. If we are not careful, as a Ministry and Government, our schools will be auctioned for non-settlement of bills to suppliers. Even the new buses that you see will be auctioned and students will move to the streets and start demonstrating. Therefore, we need to come up with a proactive plan of action on how we can bail out secondary schools from this dilemma. School principals, Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) and Boards of Governors (BoGs) are under pressure. How will the students react if they realise that their school bus has been auctioned? So, we need to address this issue very seriously. Regarding the issue of re-construction of burnt secondary school buildings, we need to wake up and release the funds immediately. We should not be rhetoric about this issue. Once we restore the infrastructure that was destroyed during the post-election crisis, let us have photographs of such facilities taken. We should be told where that has been done. A sum of Kshs285 million is a lot of money. We want to see real change in those institutions. Such change will give the learning community much confidence and trust. I beg to support.
Thank you very much, Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this very important Vote. On the outset, I would like to commend the Minister for his very able leadership in what he is trying to do. You realise that we recently came out of a very trying period, with regard to the education system, but he handled the crisis in a very professional manner. Let me begin by condemning the education syllabus of our country. The Ministry needs to look into this issue. Overhaul of the syllabus of the current education system is an urgent issue which we must tackle. It is a major problem. The current syllabus has been there for a long time. I do not know whether there is any policy in place for improvement of the current syllabus. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, in addition to that, I would like to recommend that we do away with the examinations at the primary school-level, because it serves as a bottleneck for our children. What would you expect a 14 year old child to do when he does not make it to secondary school? That goes a long with the issue of looking afresh at the syllabus of our education system. Secondly, I would like to make the Ministry recognise teachers. It is very important that we give some kind of recognition to teachers for what they are doing. We need to look into their welfare. My colleague might have talked about the issue of salaries. These are the issues to address. We should give them facilities as well as houses and they will perform. So, it is an issue that the Ministry needs to look into. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, thirdly is the issue of over staying of head teachers in one school. It becomes routine. Once a teacher stays in a place for more than three years, the first year he or she is learning, the second year he or she is producing up to the third year. The fourth year becomes routine. We have a problem with the majority of our school head teachers. Some over-stay in a school for over ten years. It is important that a policy be put in place for the transfer of teachers. They are Kenyans and, therefore, can be moved from Nyanza Province to Mandera. If one does not want to move, then he or she should give the chance to somebody who can serve Kenya in that capacity. It is very important. It should be a policy. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, the fourth issue is that of adult education. We are giving adult education a raw deal. If we want to be literate then we need to target adult education and apportion money for this. In a budget of about Kshs117 billion, what adult education has been allocated is a drop in the ocean. I think the Minister and his technocrats need to look into this October 7, 2008 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 2523 because it is a very critical issue. You cannot expect the literacy levels of a country to be changed by a Standard Four drop-out. We need to look into that. The other issue which I think is very important is the criteria the Ministry uses in allocation of bursary. I come from a very poor constituency. Unfortunately, the other day the technocrats at the Ministry of Planning and National Development said that Kajiado is among the richest districts. It is not! We lost over 70 per cent of our livestock. You will realise that, that is the livelihood of our people. Therefore, when you look at the allocation of bursary funds, the issue of affirmative action is very important especially for pastoralist communities. If you want them to be at par with the rest of Kenyans, then award them university scholarships. Even on university admission, you cannot compare a child in a place called Ramu from a child from another province. I am sure most of you here do not know where Ramu is unless you look at the map of Kenya. It is very far. Look at a place called Torosei, on the Kenya-Tanzania border and which is the end of my constituency. You cannot expect a child from that place to compete at primary level with a child who schools at Nairobi Primary School. I would like to propose that we establish centres of excellence at secondary level in every constituency. I would also like to recommend to the Ministry that the building fund fees should be done away with. It is bringing a lot of problems; children are being sent home because they have not paid the building fees. I think it is important for the Ministry to look into that issue critically and make sure that it is removed entirely, because it is completely bogging down the education of children . Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, maybe this is not the mandate of this Ministry, but I think it is important that we have a university campus in every district or constituency, so that we bring up the level of education in this country. I would like to recommend that the Ministry recommends that the amount required for building schools be factored into the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), so that it becomes the responsibility of CDF Committees to build schools in their own constituencies. Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, as I said earlier, it is important that we overhaul the syllabus; it is also important that we overhaul the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) for bringing shame to our country by leaking examinations. I think the Minister should be bold enough and take the bull by the horns,and we shall support him. With those few remarks, I support.
Dr. Otichilo, you have six minutes and you will complete your contribution tomorrow.
Madam Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Minister for Education for presenting very good Budget proposals which will go a long way in enhancing our education system. However, I would like to make a few remarks on some of the proposals that have been made, which are good. The first one, that is close to my heart, is the promotion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in our schools, particularly secondary schools, and even down to the primary schools. This is long overdue. We are in the 21st century when ICT is the key to everything. Therefore, it is important that we introduce ICT training in our schools at whatever cost. I would like to encourage the Ministry to go out of its way and source funding that can promote ICT development in our schools. This is the foundation for the development of this country. I also wish to encourage the Ministry to look forward and come up with a curricular for training in ICT. Currently, we have so many colleges training in ICT, yet they have no curricular. They give a variety of certificates, some of which are meaningless. So, I would like to see the Ministry take the lead and come up with a curriculum for primary and secondary schools, and even for tertiary institutions. To me, that would be a very important move. Regarding the issue of teachers, my colleagues have talked about the shortage of teachers, 2524 PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES October 7, 2008 both in primary and secondary schools. I want to encourage the Ministry to come up with a bold decision and a plan on how to resolve this issue. I believe that if the Ministry comes up with a bold proposal on how to work on this issue of shortage of teachers, Members of this House will support it, because all of us have this problem. We are building infrastructure in all our constituencies using the CDF money, but we have no teachers. So, I would like to encourage the Minister to come up with some serious proposal, even if it is during the Supplementary Estimates, and I am sure this House will consider it, because we are all affected. This is an area that I want to highlight, because without teachers, we will do everything but we will not move ahead. My colleagues have also talked about school management and, particularly, about the appointment of principals and headmasters. That is a very important issue which the Ministry should take very seriously. You all know that schools that have good managers and principals always do well. We have examples where schools have deteriorated immediately after good teachers have left for other schools. So, the issue of training our managers, principals and headteachers before they are appointed is very important. They should have continuous training so that they are able to manage the schools very well. There is a lot of misappropriation of funds. Most of the upheavals and strikes in our schools are partly contributed by poor management. So, I believe that is an area that the Ministry should take very seriously. I am aware that the Ministry gives a lot of grants on infrastructure development, laboratories and so on. But I want to say that most of that money is not well spent in schools. I am aware that some money is given for infrastructure, but the school principals go ahead and spend it on recurrent expenditure. They even pay for buses. That is an area where we need a lot of supervision. We must make sure that, that money is given out. I want to concur with one of my colleagues that, probably, that money should be channelled through the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF), for construction and building of schools. That is because when we give that money to the principals, they do want they want. That is an area where we have a lot of problems. CDF funds the same schools. Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF) funds the same schools. The Ministry of Education gives grants to the same schools and you are shown the same classroom for those three fundings. That is where we have some form of corruption. So, we need to streamline that, so that we are very clear. The teachers should be well remunerated. That is a fact and we should not overlook it. However, we must follow the right channels. I am one of the people who believe in performance contracts. That is because wherever I have worked, I have worked on performance contracts and I have done very well. I believe teachers should be given performance contracts depending on where there are. The fact that the schools have different facilities and problems--- The performance contract takes care of that, depending on what you have. So, this is an area where we need to look at. I know my colleagues have divergent views, but performance contracts is the "in thing" everywhere. On the issue of bursaries, I know you have issued a new circular which changes the membership. That is an area again where Members of Parliament are not aware. So, I think you need to bring that to the attention of Members of Parliament because some of them have already appointed members to the bursary committees. But, personally, I have seen a circular which is completely different from what was being used. So, this is an area that the Minister should take up. Otherwise, we will have a lot of problems with our colleagues because they have appointed some of the members of those committees. On the issue of tuition, this is a very serious matter. I think my colleagues have also talked about it. The Ministry should come out with clear guidelines---
Hon. Members, it is now time to interrupt the business of this House. The House stands adjourned until tomorrow Wednesday, 8th October, 2008, at 9.00 a.m. The House rose at 6.30 p.m.