Deputy President William Ruto has called on the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to expand its medical cover to teachers.
The appeal comes as the government rolled out a comprehensive scheme for students in public secondary schools in pursuit of one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda pillars.
The DP also said health facilities within schools should be equipped to provide essential services to students and teachers to minimise cases of seeking such assistance outside their institutions.
“Universal healthcare to students is our primary goal. As a government, we are tasked with ensuring that these learners are exposed to conducive environment to boost their performance,” he said.
At the same time, Ruto said the new education curriculum being implemented will focus more on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a bid to make Kenya an industrialised economy.
He said the reforms being carried out in the education sector will also see schools adopt continuous assessment tests and do away with the win-lose, and single final examination.
Addressing school heads at the 43rd annual Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) conference in Mombasa, the DP said once implemented, the new curriculum will churn out inventors, innovators, leaders and game-changers.
“These are the brains that will then elevate Kenya to the next level of development; upper middle-income,” he said.
The DP said an education system that imparts problem-solving skills to learners will make Kenya not only competitive, but also model for future leaders.
He also said the government was planning to secure learning institutions and asked the more than 8,000 school heads to fully support the effort as they show zero-tolerance to sexual abuses.
“This is an important mandate for you as custodians to provide an environment that is habitable. Learners must be safe, particularly from sexual abuse. This must be prevented and severely punished whenever it occurs,” he said.
He called on the school heads to disrupt any schemes that may lead to neglect or cover-up of sexual and other abuses, saying they must take a firm stand and lead through “strong values”.
He said Boards of Management will institute participatory administrative structures that will be open to students, teachers and parents in line with the Constitution and the Basic Education Act.
“Your leadership should be participatory. The school environment must be student-friendly. Leaders of integrity in forward-looking societies cannot be produced in tyrannical, abusive, prison-like conditions,” he said.
Ruto said work had started on the rationalisation and delocalisation, and urged the principals to sensitise teachers on the plan “that is expected to further diversity, deepen cross-pollination and rejuvenate teaching and learning”.
He also announced a textbook distribution policy that will equip every learner with six copies when joining Form One. The scheme, he said, will improve efficiency in delivery of learning materials while at the same time reducing costs.
The DP further noted that disadvantaged households will experience less financial burden with increased capitation for Free Day Secondary Education.
“This capitation has increased from Sh12,870 to Sh22,244.Through the Ministry of Education, we are also investing in expanding school infrastructure and enhancing Boards of Management capacity as well as Parent Teacher Associations to drive up the quality of school governance,” he said.
This, he observed, will enable school communities to tackle gender disparity in resource allocation, harsh environmental conditions, insecurity as well as drug and substance abuse and indiscipline.