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Conflicting Laws Between National And Devolved Systems Jeopardising Education – Thika KNUT Boss.

Thika KNUT  Secretary Joe Mungai Ngige shows part of a dilapidated roof at General Kago Primary School that is made of asbestos, a product condemned by WHO as cancerous and dangerous to human beings.   
Thika Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Executive Secretary Joe Mungai Ngige has reckoned that there has emerged conflicts in the education sector in relation to the implementation of the country’s 2010 constitution. This clash, he noted, has affected the standard of education especially in the public primary schools.

Speaking to reporters after the launch of Thika West public primary schools hand washing campaign at General Kago Primary School, Mungai said the country’s constitution provided citizens with two basic levels: national and devolved governments under which various functions of governance fell.

“For instance, primary school education fall under the national government while within the same institutions, the heads of schools are expected to handle issues of pre-primary education which is under the devolved governance. In the same vein, health, which can never be detached from education, falls under the devolved system of government, creating total confusion to the principals whenever they were faced by situations involving these conflicting departments,” said Mungai.

He cited a case in General Kago Primary School where the roofs were made of asbestos which had been declared cancerous by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Health being a devolved function and education falling under the national government, who will the Headteacher go to for assistance to protect these kids from being exposed to the danger of getting infected with cancer? The MP or the governor?’” he asked.

“Furthermore, the land this school is sitting on is under the County Government of Kiambu. The development of the institution’s infrastructure on the other hand is a function of the area MP. The teacher themselves are answerable to the TSC and in essence the national government. How then do you marry the two if an urgent matter like this one of the roofs emerges?” he added.

He reckoned that though it was the responsibility of the county government to guarantee the health of the kids was not compromised in schools, their hands were tied when it came to the replacement of such hazardous asbestos roofs. Likewise, if the MP was to improve on the sanitation standards of the schools, he or she needs the county government’s input in the development of the sewerage system.

“As Kenyan teachers, we feel that there is a need to rethink and consider amending sections of this constitution to suit the reality on the ground. Otherwise, I do not see it serving its purpose to the mwananchi,” said the KNUT Secretary.

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