Members of Parliament (MPS) have opposed the creation of a new department to oversee curriculum reformations under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) terming it as unnecessary.
A section of lawmakers protested the appointment of Prof Fatuma Chege as the new Principal Secretary (PS) for the state department for the implementation of curriculum reforms in the Ministry of Education.
The House committee on education and research chaired by Busia Women Rep Florence Mutua had tabled a report in parliament and recommended her appointment.
“The committee recommends that this house approves the nomination of Prof Fatuma Chege, Ph.D., for the appointment of the position of Principal Secretary for state department for the implementation of curriculum reforms in the Ministry of Education,” read the report.
Uriri MP Mark Nyamita questioned the appointment stating that within the Ministry of Education is the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) which is in charge of curriculum reforms.
“The current PS in the state department of basic education Dr. Julius Jwan came from KICD and is already skilled. With that, I am sure issues of curriculum development can be handled by that department,” he said.
The current Education Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Sarah Ruto was also a former chair at the KICD before her appointment.
Mr. Nyamita said the President should instead consider reorganizing the Ministry of Education instead of creating a new department.
“This appointment is misplaced and we need to reject it in total,” he said.
Suba East MP Junet Mohamed said he does not see the need for an additional state department to do a specific duty which can be done by the existing state department.
Junet said currently, the Ministry of Education has a dysfunctional state department in charge of post-training and skills development managed by PS Alfred Cheruiyot.
“That man called Cheruiyot is doing nothing, why can’t that job be given to him because honestly, he is idle,” he said adding that PS Cheruiyot is already earning a salary as a civil servant, and appointing another person will inflate the country’s wage bill.
“I don’t want to say I am supporting her, let us reject something for the first time,” said Junet. His sentiments were echoed by Minority leader John Mbadi who noted that it is irrelevant to have another PS in the Ministry of Education.
“We cannot always complain as a nation that we have bloated wage bill and as a House, we keep on approving more appointments and creation of positions without even raising a finger. Our role as an oversight institution is that if we have agreed the government is heavy, then we cannot continue allowing the creation of more positions in government,” said Mbadi.
“The Ministry of Education already has so many PSs, Why are adding more? If we approve her, this means the ministry is going to have five PSs. It is unnecessary, it is a waste of public resources and so I oppose this motion,” he continued.
Mbadi said the executive simply needs to realign the roles to different existing departments.
Prof Chege’s appointment was supported by some lawmakers Led by Garissa Town MP Aden Duale, who also faulted the implementation of the new curriculum in the country.
“This system is faulty, some schools do not have classrooms, electricity, and teachers, I support Prof Chege, but the issue here, is the new system that is not working,” he said.
Kilifi North MP Baya Owen praised her appointment stating that her work speaks for itself.
“Prof Chege is one of the very well-known knowledgeable educationists in this country. I know she is a practitioner in the education sector having taught from the lowest level to the university.”
Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri stated that the shift of curriculum is affecting millions of learners and consequently a new department is necessary.
Mvita Member of parliament Nassir Sherrif maintained that the element of appointment of Prof Chege should not be the subject but the creation of the new department. National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi adjoined the debate to resume on another date when the House resumes.
President Uhuru Kenyatta formed the new department and appointed Prof Chege to spearhead the implementation of the new curriculum which is at Grade 4.
Prof Chege was the chair of the CBC task force committee and deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration at the Kenyatta University before her appointment.