Government to stop supply of books to schools, headteachers to do procurement

Government to stop supply of books to schools, headteachers to do procurement

“There are also cases of data mismatch between National Education Information Management System (Nemis) and the delivery of books, which has led to oversupply,” said the report on the government policy to supply textbooks in public secondary schools.

It further says the new system has restricted choices of the books as the single sourcing by the ministry “tied the hands” of subject specialists from picking varieties from the Orange Book.

Other issues raised by Kessha are errors in books, lack of storage facilities, lack of reference materials, lack of clear policy and directive on lost, damaged or vandalised books and the unpredictable schedule of delivery.

Primary school heads also tore into the policy, saying they were never involved in its formulation. Nicholas Gathemia, the primary school heads national chairman, said most schools are required to make arrangements to pick the books from sub-county offices without budgetary provisions.

Gathemia told MPs to push for a policy review that would empower school heads to procure the books.Overall, Kessha and Kepsha denied previous reports that under the previous distribution regime, books delivered to schools found their way back to bookshop shelves.

“There was a wrong notion then that principals are colluding to inflate books prices yet they were spelt in the orange book. We made orders based on the orange books,” said Indimuli.

The meeting in Parliament followed a petition by the Kenya Booksellers and Stationers Association who claimed that the directive pushed many Kenyans out of employment.

The petition signed by 15 members of the association said majority of schools had already attained a book ration of 1:1 and did not need any more books.

“The new model has caused oversupply of textbooks in secondary schools to the tune of 300 per cent due to a replication of the books supplied in 2018,” reads the petition.

The booksellers also claim class four to six learners have never received any text book from the government arrangement, and that class seven and eight have only been supplied with four books.

“Petitioners pray that National Education Committee recommend that the ministry considers its policy on books distribution… to one that ensures that micro, small and medium enterprises accessed government procurement opportunities in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposals Act,” reads the petition.

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