President William Ruto’s education legacy is hanging in the balance after the Council of Governors (COG) rejected five reforms tailored towards making the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) expensive.
The recommendations were presented to the head of state in August last year by the Presidential Working Party (PWP) led by University of Nairobi professor, Raphael Munavu.
According to a report released on January 10, 2024, CoG argued that some of the reforms were obstructing the purpose of devolution. The five included having one principal manage two schools within the same compound, i.e. primary school and junior secondary school. Other reforms touch on the payment of teachers and amendment of the Basic Education Act.
“The recommendations by the presidential working party on education reforms are unacceptable to the council and heavily claw back on devolution,” the council noted.
President William Ruo (Centre) and a group of members of Council of Governors (CoG) during the 9th National and County Coordinating Summit at Enashipai Hotel, Naivasha, Nakuru County on Saturday, February 11, 2023.
Council of Governors
The Presidential Working Party recommendations rejected by governors in full were;
The establishment of a comprehensive school system where all levels of learning are headed by one head of institution
The report recommended that only one Board of Management (BoM) and headteacher manage schools sharing the same compound.
CoG lamented that the report failed to provide an accountability framework regarding the management of the schools under one compound.
MoE, COG and TSC to develop an intergovernmental agreement for hiring and remuneration of Pre-Primary teachers.
This reform was outlined to harmonize pay for Pre-primary teachers from the Parliament, while the counties were tasked with hiring.
Amendment of the Basic Education Act to instil the County Commissioner as the Board of Management chair.
The report recommends that BoMs remove educationists of at least five years in the county as board chairs and replace the position with the county commissioner.
“This is a clear reverse gear to the gains of devolution noting that ECDE is a fully devolved function,” CoG notes.
Hiring of pre-primary teachers.
CoG disregarded the presidential working party’s recommendation on forming an intergovernmental agreement for hiring pre-primary teachers, owing to the ruling in the case of KNUT vs. The Attorney General and 4 others (2016) that clarified the powers of the County Governments in hiring pre-primary teachers.
“Having found as I have done above, it follows that County Governments have the power to recruit ECE teachers but must do so only from the register of trained registered teachers held by the TSC within its constitutional mandate,” the 2016 ruling read.
Framework for the facilitation of development partners who support education in the country.
The governors recommended Ministry of Education coordinate the partners supporting the National Education Function while the CoG handles partners supporting the devolved education function.
The Council of Governors Legal, Constitutional Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations and the Education Committee further stated that the recommendations noted undermine the basic structure and framework of the constitution.
“The Council of Governors hereby withdraws its participation from any process that seeks to legislate the recommendations contained in the report,”
“County Governments will continue to manage both the institutions and Human resources for the constitutionally assigned functions in Education,” CoG added.
The Presidential Working Party was appointed by President William Ruto on 30th September 2022 to enhance the education reforms in Kenya.
Teachers at the Ministry of Education’s CBC training in 2020