In a stark warning to the government, teachers and lecturers have threatened to down their tools should the government proceed with its plans to privatize public learning institutions. The announcement was made during a joint press conference on Tuesday, February 7, where education stakeholders led by the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General, Constantine Wasonga, spoke out against the proposed move.
The Cost of Privatization: Students Left Behind
In his statement, Wasonga expressed concerns that privatizing schools would make education expensive and limit access to many learners. He also expressed fear that unscrupulous business people would exploit the situation for personal gain. On the other hand, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General, Collins Oyuu, called for the government to review the management of public schools, highlighting the challenges faced by the education system, including underfunding, inadequate infrastructure, and teacher shortages.
The Ministry of Education has refuted reports that it had kickstarted plans to privatize schools across the country. This came after reports alleged that prestigious schools, such as Alliance High School, were targeted. The privatization of some public universities was proposed by Trade Cabinet Secretary, Moses Kuria, who argued that the move would help address the financial crisis at the institutions.
However, the proposed privatization bill is currently at the public participation stage and will issue regulations on the privatization of public institutions. With the education sector in crisis, teachers and lecturers are urging the government to reconsider its plans and work towards finding a solution that will benefit all.