A circular by the Education Permanent Secretary Belio Kipsang dated 8th of October has stirred controversy among school heads in public primary and secondary schools.
School principals have expressed concerns over a government directive compelling all public schools to buy rice from the Kenya Trading Corporation.
The School heads say that the Education Ministry is out to create a monopoly, set prices in a price control compelling move to extremely buy rice at a very expensive rate.
The school heads association bosses now say Schools will have to negotiate the prices because the move by the Ministry of Education is a presidential directive.
Just days before the phased reopening of schools across the country, the Education Ministry now wants all public boarding schools to purchase their rice supply from the Kenya National Trading Corporation
This is said to be in line with the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Government Initiative as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to empower the trading corporation to purchase all excess rice from Kano Plains and Mwea, to be sold to Disciplined Forces, Prisons Services and Public Schools.
The move has created a silent protest among a section of school heads across the country. School heads who sought anonymity warned the directive by the Ministry of Education was counterproductive and exposing schools to buying of rice at a very expensive rate that instead of saving the school money, they will be forced to pay more than they used to.
Kenya Primary and Secondary Schools Heads (Kepsha) led by chair Nicholas Gathemia and Kahi Indimuli says schools will now have to adjust accordingly to realities.
In Nairobi for instance, schools used to buy their rice at a market price of between ksh.5,200 to 6,000 per 50kg. But in the Ministry of Education memo, the schools will be compelled to purchase 50kg bag of rice at a rate between 8,000 and ksh8,250.
The school heads have questioned government logic of the government to force them to purchase rice at an 'exploitative rate' as well as the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Initiative given that they still purchase rice from local suppliers.
According to the price schedule issued by the Public Works Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalangwa on Nairobi, a package of 1kg of rice, Mwea grade one rice costs at Sh 160 while a 50Kg of the same grade is to be sold to public schools at Sh 8,000.
Mwea grade two will be sold at Ksh 155 for one Kg and 50kg of the sane will be sold at Sh 7, 750. Ahero Sindano rice will be sold at Sh 105 per kilogram which is equivalent to Ksh 5,250 fo 5kg, prices applicable to Nairobi, Central, Machakos and Wote regions.
In the Coastal regions, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza, Mwea rice grade one will be sold at Sh 165 for a kg which sums up to 8,250 for 5kg. Mwea grade two will cost Ksh 160 for one kilogram which is equivalent to Ksh 8,000 for 5 kilograms. Ahero Sindano rice is to be sold at 110 per Kg.
The controversy comes against the backdrop of the Education Ministry releasing capitation funds to schools. Sh 13 Billion has been received in various secondary schools while Primary schools are in a recipient of Sh 1.1 Billion ahead of Monday's partial reopening.