What you need to know:
- The report has poked holes in the storage of textbooks in public schools noting that it is hard to establish the number of books purchased by most schools.
- The report further notes that non-book materials such as firewood and broken furniture’s were kept in the same store in some schools while in a few cases, the same store also served as kitchens.
- In Bungoma County, the team was informed that that the district schools audit office burnt down destroying all records and in both cases, back-up copies had not been maintained in a separate location, thus making it difficult to reconstruct information.
Most schools in the country cannot account for books bought since introduction of free education in 2003, a confidential report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has revealed.
The report has poked holes in the storage of textbooks in public schools noting that it is hard to establish the number of books purchased by most schools.
It notes that despite the government releasing funds to schools to construct book storage facilities, most schools have not done so.
According to the report, some schools bought one wooden cupboard which is maintained in the offices of head teachers or their deputies.
“In other schools metallic cabinets are available though not locatable, while in other schools, there are no storage facilities,” observes the September 2015 EACC report titled “Examination into the disbursement and utilisation of free primary education funds.”
It goes on: “In those schools, purchased books are recorded in a register by the deputy head teacher and then issued to respective subject teachers, who in turn lock the books in their cabinets in the staff room. At the end of the term, the books are all put in deputy head teacher’s office. These exposes the books to the risk of break-in and theft.”
The report notes that its team was informed of break–ins and theft of books in several schools in Nyeri and Embu counties.
It was also observed that storage areas in most schools were disorganised, poorly illuminated and very dusty.
“In some instances, tattered books were kept in cartons or scattered all over the store. In other instances, books and materials were not systematically organised by subject or other predictable classification system,” it adds.
The report further notes that non-book materials such as firewood and broken furniture’s were kept in the same store in some schools while in a few cases, the same store also served as kitchens.
“This poses a severe risk to instruction materials in the event of a fire outbreak. Poor storage of instruction materials shortens shelf-life of materials. This, coupled with lack of proper records to the stored items creates a fertile ground for the loss of materials,” it adds.
It also noted that in some schools, books kept in stores were not stamped long after they had been delivered to schools, contrary to the law which requires that every copy is stamped and a unique serial number written in the space provided for in the stamp.
It also noted that some schools do not properly maintain records of delivery notes and other documents used for delivery of instructional materials to schools.
“This makes it difficult to compare orders with the deliveries made and confirm that there are no variations and it is a loophole that can be exploited to pay for items not actually delivered,” states the report.
The report observed that no contingency measures had been put in place by the ministry of Education to mitigate on the effect of disaster such as floods and fire citing Kisumu County where schools located in flood prone areas have lost books, instruction materials and other records in the past due to flooding.
In Bungoma County, the team was informed that that the district schools audit office burnt down destroying all records and in both cases, back-up copies had not been maintained in a separate location, thus making it difficult to reconstruct information.
The team also noted massive procurement of story books in some schools, yet those schools had not attained sufficient levels of text book-pupil ratios and in most classes several students were sill sharing text books in core subjects.
For instance, in one school in Nakuru County, several copies of a story book had been procured while the school still had a ratio of 1:5 for most of the text books in all classes.