Kenya National Alternative Providers for Basic Education and Training (APBET) schools managers have appealed to the national government to speed up registrations of their schools across the country.
APBET National Secretary General, Juma Lubambo, said they have 2,800 schools domiciled in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu counties offering basic education to thousands of learners.
Lubambo however said a paltry 76 schools in Mombasa and Kisumu have been registered, while the bulk await the Ministry of Education to speed up the process in accordance to APBET policy, 2015.
He was speaking while flanked with other officials during a meeting between APBET schools’ managers and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, where they pledged to help raise their grievances to authorities.
“Most of our schools are ready for registration and we urge the ministry to fast-track the process because many have met the minimum requirement under the policy to be eligible for the registration,” added Lubambo.
Other APBET officials, who spoke during the event at Mombasa Women Hall include Nyali sub county representative Francis Kitima and his Jomvu counterpart, Rose Owino among others.
The informal school managers said the registration will also pave the way for them to access funding from the national government to implement basic free education to learners.
They argued that they have played a critical role in ensuring the presidential directive on hundred percent transition is achieved in urban informal settlements areas.
They further stated that their institutions have effectively complimented public schools towards ensuring Kenyan children have access to basic education as envisioned in basic education act, 2013 and the Constitution.
Lubambo told the forum that they seek to have their schools enlisted under the National Council for Nomadic Education (NACONEK) alongside other schools in Arid and Semi-Arid areas.
The APBET schools managers also appealed to the 47 county governments to consider financing their institutions, especially their Early Childhood Education (ECD) centers.
“Indeed our schools have enabled children from less privileged background to access basic education despite the many challenges we encounter in our operations,” they added
He stated that their school offers low cost education to the residents of urban informal families who live on a shoestring budget.
Lubambo said they have held series of meetings with county governments to pitch requests, including possibilities of being funded under Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) programme.
“Regrettably, most of our requests have not been addressed and that’s why we have decided to meet gubernatorial candidates with a view of incorporating our request under their manifestos,” he added.
The APBET officials provided a list of proposals to Mr. Nassir to implement should he clinch Mombasa Governor’s seat in the August 8 elections.
They want his administration to create a fully-fledged APBET department, provision of learning materials, scrapping of levies and school feeding programmes.
“We are glad that the incumbent Governor Hassan Joho introduced free milk to our schools. We urge you to move a notch higher by introducing exercise, text books and meals to enable learners to concentrate in schools,”
“We pay for single business permits and pay exorbitant levies to the county government, yet we are not business making entities. Everyone knows the financial situation of parents who take their children to our schools,” they said.
In his speech, Nassir pledged to consider the demand of the informal schools managers, saying they will help address the challenges that has led 31 percent of school going children to be out of school in the county.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) only 69 percent of the school going children are in schools. We have to find the whereabouts of the remaining children. Your schools will assist both the national and county governments in tracing for these kids and enrolling them in schools,” added Nassir.
Nassir pledged that his administration will launch a comprehensive bursary kitty, where bursaries will be managed at the ward from the county.
“We will ensure the bursary is managed by representatives of key stakeholders to ensure there is equity and fairness in the distribution of the funds,” he added.
He pledged to introduce ECD schools feeding programmes that will cover APBET institutions to improve nutrition, enrolment and retention of learners in schools.
“This is a program that we will roll out to everybody. There are those doubting how this noble idea will be executed. It is possible by sealing all corruption loopholes,” added Nassir.
Nassir further pledged to conduct a massive overhaul of levies charged on local schools and allocate funds to procure learning materials and improve informal schools infrastructure.
“We will review levies charged on your schools. It’s unfair to charge the same rates to academies that are charging eye watering figures and those that charge Sh500 per student,” he added.