Deputy President William Ruto yesterday unveiled a 45-point charter to overhaul the education sector, should his coalition win the August 9 General Election.
Dr Ruto also promised to review the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) to address current challenges identified by teachers and parents.
The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate said his government will not scrap CBC but rather strengthen it by encouraging further engagements with parents, teachers and other stakeholders.
While launching the Kenya Kwanza education charter at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Dr Ruto said this will be part of the manifesto to be launched next week.
He said a Kenya Kwanza government would rely on the curriculum review by Unesco to seal gaps that have been pointed out.
“We commit to continue our robust engagement with the public to facilitate the assessment of the current curriculum and education structure towards finding a sustainable solution that will capture the essence of a knowledge-based system,” Dr Ruto said.
“The conversation we want to have is, that we are now five years into CBC. The Unesco guidelines give us the latitude that every five years we have to review the education curriculum and this is the moment. We have had concerns from parents, teachers, and various stakeholders,” he added.
Dr Ruto said to ensure access to education by all, his government would deal with the perennial shortage of teachers.
He promised Sh25 billion for the transfer and hiring of more teachers mainly in marginalised areas.
Dr Ruto said this would be implemented in two phases beginning the first year that the UDA government takes over.
“For each phase, we will hire 58,000 teachers beginning next year when we form the government, to close that gap,” Dr Ruto said.
He said the existing funding model for higher education that consolidates universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) funding board and Helb, will be collapsed and a funding council formed dubbed the National Skills and Funding Council.
The DP also said his administration would focus on infrastructure development of institutions since “education is the greatest enabler of the bottom-up economic model.”
He pledged to complete 250 vocational institutes across the country and an additional 52 TVETs within two years.
The DP also plans to abolish the delocalisation policy by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and replace it with a programme that will acknowledge that teachers are a national resource. He said teachers will be at liberty to choose the counties and schools they want to work for.
He promised to convert the current Teachers Management Institute to the Kenya School of Education to better manage the learning institutions.
In their presentation, secondary school principals through their chairman, Kahi Indimuli, demanded that the next government establishes a minimum essential package for schools with low enrollment.
This then would mean a shift from the current arrangement where every learner in public secondary school gets a flat capitation of Sh22,244. Currently, the government funds the education sector at 25.9 per cent of the national budget.
Ruto said also promised to implement a minimum essential package for schools that are low enrolled to ensure the same quality of education is offered irrespective of size.
On education support facilities, he promised a special service tariff for water, electricity and internet connection in all learning institutions to make education affordable.
Other proposals include the establishment of a national education fund to mobilise grants, bursaries and scholarships from private and public sponsors, to cater for non-tuition costs.
Currently, parents meet the cost of transport, meals, uniform and boarding fees under the Free Primary Education and the Free Day Secondary Education.
Ruto said Kenya Kwanza commits to among others enforce a 100 per cent return to school policy for all teenage mothers and ensure they automatically benefit from the bursary, develop a framework for a multi-disciplinary approach to assets, places, and support learners with special needs.
He promised to increase funds for research and development institutions from the current 0.8 per cent to two per cent of GDP.
“The domesticated teacher recruitment and deployment at entry-level will be per the UNESCO teacher deployment practice which treats education as culture process conducted within a people’s culture context at the local level,” he said.
Others present included Kenya Kwanza principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula.