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Ministry puts on hold Covid classroom project

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The Ministry of Education has temporarily put on hold the construction of 383 lowcost classes for rural schools, part of the K5 billion Covid-19 intervention aimed at providing improved sanitation and spacing in schools.

Minister of Education Agness Nyalonje disclosed this while responding to concerns from the Members of Parliament on Friday regarding the project.

Nyalonje said the suspension has come about to allow Parliament to provide an oversight in the allocation process of the schools.

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The ministry drew the K5 billion from the K17.5 billion which Treasury disbursed in January 20121 to support measures in the fight against Covid-19.

Nyalonje said the allocation process of the classrooms has been based on schools with high enrollment and with shortage of space and the total budget for the 383 lowcost classroom blocks is K1.3 billion.

“Recognising the significant role that this house plays in providing the oversight role in allocation of resources, and ensuring equity, my ministry has decided, after having heard the huge outcry as to how the allocation is looking, the ministry has decided to put a temporary hold on this, until we undertake a verification exercise which we commit to make very quick because these classrooms are designed to meet very urgent need of schools,” she said.

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Nyalonje further said the verification exercise will involve Education Committee of Parliament and the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19. She added that based on the need, government needs to build 1,200 classrooms at a cost of K4.2 billion.

Chairperson of Education Committee of Parliament Brainax Kaisi said the committee has welcomed the development.

“It looked like they used old data in coming up with schools that could benefit and there were a lot of complaints from Members of Parliament as there were a number of constituencies which were missing on the list,” he said.

Apart from construction of the classroom blocks, the K5 billion to the ministry will also cater for boreholes, chalk boards, personal protective materials and recruitment of auxiliary teachers, among others activities.

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