The government has explained how it arrived at the cost of desks, chairs and lockers to be supplied to primary and secondary schools amid concerns of overpricing by carpenters.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the government plans to pay Sh3,800 for a secondary school locker and chair.
“Following an extensive market survey, the cost of a primary school desk has been fixed at Sh2,500 and Sh3,800 for secondary school locker and chair,” the President said on Thursday.
The prototypes for the desks and chairs were made public by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha last week.
The project, which is under the Economic Stimulus Programme, is intended to help local carpenters who have until Friday to return duly filled tender application forms, according to an advertisement by the ministry on Tuesday.
County commissioners are to ensure the tenders are awarded to local jua kali workshops and artisans.
The ministry said some 622,357 lockers and chairs would be supplied to 5,136 public primary schools and 5,254 secondary schools before they reopen.
Primary schools will get 360,000 desks that will cost the taxpayer Sh900 million while secondary schools will receive 263,157 lockers and chairs valued at Sh1 billion.
Every selected primary school will receive 70 desks while a secondary school will get 50 lockers and chairs.
Prof Magoha directed regional and county education directors to ensure the desks, chairs and lockers are supplied to schools by October 19.
He added that the award of tenders for the making and supply of the desks should be devoid of corruption.
“Deputy county commissioners will lead their teams in ensuring specification and quality are as per the prototypes. They shall ensure the desks are numbered and labelled with the name of the school before delivery,” President Kenyatta said.
Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia warned against awarding the tenders to undeserving people.
“The cash should land in the pockets of carpenters closest to our schools,” Mr Kinuthia said.
Carpenters who spoke to the Nation said the pricing is inflated.
Mr Njoroge Murigi, a graduate of Kigumo Vocational Training Institute, said a primary school desk should go for Sh1,600 while a locker is Sh2,000.
Mr Julius Wekesa, a carpenter on Juja Road, Nairobi, said the prices given are grossly exaggerated.
“I usually make one primary school desk measuring four feet by three for Sh1,000 and a secondary school locker at Sh2,300,” Mr Wekesa said.