The Education Ministry has announced that Form One students will receive six textbooks for free.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said students will receive Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Chemistry, Biology and Physics textbooks when they report to school next year.
He made this known while flagging off the Form One selection process at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) on Monday.
“On January 4, we will flag off the distribution of textbooks across the country and Form One students will be given the textbooks. This is how you achieve equity,” he told education sector stakeholders attending the Form One Selection exercise.
He said the textbooks have been procured by public resources in conjunction with publishers and approved by KICD, as per the law.
“KICD has reviewed the content and identified the core textbooks in each of the six critical subjects and had the meeting with the publishers, both government-owned and private publishers,” he added.
Dr. Matiang’i said they took the decision to curb misappropriation of public resources that had been reported in County and Extra-County Schools.
“I was showing Prof Magoha (KNEC Chairman) and he was shocked that books that we were told are costing KSh790, now cost KSh194 through the procurement system we are having. If you look at the amount of money we have been losing through the processes, it is shocking.”
“I have walked into schools where you have four textbooks in a class of 50 students, yet we give money for textbooks every year.”
The Education CS said new policy on textbooks will ensure equity of learning outcomes.
“We don’t want a situation where some schools don’t have textbooks and yet we expect the same learning outcomes across the country.”
The textbooks will bear the national Coat of Arms on the front cover as an identification mark so that the textbooks are not sold in bookshops.
Dr. Matiang’i added that a nationwide distribution of the textbooks would be flagged off by the ministry on January 4. He directed the Region Education Directors to monitor the roll-out of the initiative.
He also called for an end to the culture of book-harvesting which had been practiced by some school heads.