Kwale County public primary and secondary schools will receive new 9,050 desks, lockers, and chairs under the economic stimulus programme for the supply of locally assembled furniture.
The new-look desks will replace the traditional seating arrangements in primary schools where usually four to five pupils squeeze into a single bench.
The new school furniture will allow the government to reopen schools with adequate social distancing which is the ‘new normal’ in the coronavirus era.
Each of the primary school desks will cost Sh2, 500 while the secondary school lockers and chairs will cost Sh3, 800 across the country.
The furniture is meant for additional learning spaces such as dining halls that schools are expected to establish ahead of the anticipated reopening.
County Director of Education (CDE) Jane Njogu said 5,250 pieces of the school furniture will go to primary schools while the remaining 3,800 will benefit secondary schools.
Njogu said the new school furniture is expected to address social distancing headache in the learning institutions in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
She said the region has received seven prototype lockers and desks which will be placed at the sub-county commissioners and sub-county directors of education offices.
She was speaking on Wednesday at Kwale High School during the sensitization forum for deputy county commissioners and sub-county director of education on the supply of the locally assembled desks for schools.
Njogu said interested jua kali workshops, artisans or small and medium-sized enterprises involved in carpentry at the sub-county level will be required to register to be considered for the supply of the new furniture.
Njogu said the furniture is supposed to be in classrooms by November 1, 2020 before the learning institutions welcome back students.
The government will use Sh.1.9 billion allocated under the economic stimulus programme to supply schools with more furniture to enable social distancing by learners in the face of COVID-19.
She said the committees will map all the Jua kali workshops within the sub counties and those owned by youth, women, and people living with disabilities will be given priorities.
“The idea of the economic stimulus programme is to empower local people and artisans otherwise the government would have given contracts to big furniture makers for mass-scale production and distribution,” she said.
The government closed schools in March as part of COVID-19 control and prevention measures in the education sector.
By Hussein Abdullahi