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103 CBC classrooms ready for commissioning in Rift valley

A total of 103 Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) classrooms in Rift Valley have so far been completed and are ready for commissioning, Regional Director of Education, Mr Jared Obiero, has revealed.

Mr Obiero said the Government intends to deliver at least 1,737 new classrooms in the region by the end of the year ahead of the Junior Secondary School rollout.

He stated that companies awarded contracts to put up the new classrooms have until March this year to complete work, adding that no contractor will be allowed in schools after the deadline as the students will be sitting for national examinations.

Speaking during a meeting of heads of departments and state agencies chaired by Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed at the Nakuru plenary hall, Mr Obiero said Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination is ready to be administered next month.

He assured candidates and parents that the government has placed elaborate measures to ensure registered candidates sit the final primary school examinations without any hitches.

According to the education calendar, the 2021 KCPE exam will be done between March 7 and 10, while KCSE will commence between March 11 and April 1.

Obiero noted that Nakuru County had been allocated 541 Competency Based Curriculum classrooms at a cost of Sh426.3 million.

He added, “Contractors whose tenders were approved by evaluation committees at Sub-County level are constructing the classrooms in 322 selected secondary schools in Nakuru to provide the additional learning space required for the over 54,000 new students set to join junior secondary within the devolved unit.”

He said the building of the classrooms, each at a projected cost of Sh788,000 is being done by contractors based near the schools and the money is being remitted directly to the contractors in their respective sub-counties.

“We have reduced the price of each classroom from Sh1.26 million to Sh788,000 including taxes. This initiative is tapping into the skilled manpower within the counties, empowering locals with enhanced economic opportunities,” observed the Regional Director of Education.

He assured contractors that once they have the right paperwork and the quality of work presented is of good standard, they would be paid immediately.

Mr Obiero revealed that construction of 10 CBC classrooms in Baringo, 8 in West Pokot and 2 in Uasin Gishu counties was yet to kick off.

On his part, the Regional commissioner also asked contractors to ensure the quality of work was within the standards.

Maalim directed state officers and tender evaluation committees to ensure the process was being carried out in strict adherence to the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act 2015.

He added that his office was keenly monitoring the CBC classrooms project to guarantee that quality of work is good and that the process was free from bribery, conflict of interest and political patronage.

“Ethics in public procurement is a prerequisite to, and underpins public trust and is a keystone of good governance. We have selected six of the most qualified tenderers for further verification without coercion or political interference,” he stated.

The RC said construction of the classrooms by contractors based near the schools gives ownership of the projects, hence more accountability.

Countrywide construction of 6,470 CBC classrooms is ongoing in the first phase of the project. The second phase of construction of CBC classrooms is set to start in May after the marking of exams.

The first CBC classroom was commissioned in the Eastern region in Meru County in January 2022.

In December last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the National Treasury to make available Sh8.1 billion for the project to support the primary to secondary school shift in the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The Head of State also appealed to MPs to give the programme priority in the National Government Constituencies Development Fund by constructing another 11,000 classrooms.

“I call on all Members of Parliament to stand together in solidarity with our children by prioritizing allocation of the CDF towards school infrastructure,” he said.

This means that by 2023 when the first CBC cohort will join junior secondary schools, 20,000 new classrooms should be ready.

The total number of Grade Six and Standard Eight learners expected to join secondary school will be about 2,571,044.

Last year, the government had allocated a further Sh4 billion towards infrastructure development in schools. This translates to about 5,000 new classrooms.

CBC report identified schools that will have the biggest enrolment burden during 2023 transition from primary to secondary schools.

Nakuru, Kakamega, Bungoma, Nairobi, Homa Bay, Narok, Kisumu, Busia, Meru, Kitui, Siaya and Trans Nzoia are among counties that will witness the highest enrolment of secondary school students against their limited classroom capacities.

By Anne Mwale

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