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Behind The Rampant School Fires: The Education Sector Cartels That Matiangi Has Rattled



Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

The latest update on the seemingly never-ending school fires comes from the National Intelligence Service (NIS). The agency has advised the Ministry Of Education to call immediately for the indefinite closure of schools with Intel indicating that more fires are set up in the coming days. An average of 5 schools are burned daily with over 300 schools already razed down.

Education CS Matiangi has insisted that the exam leakage cartel is behind the fires- a sentiment that the association of the secondary level heads has dismissed. From Kenya Insights investigations, the cartel that is crippling the education sector is larger than it seems and dates ages back. The cartels are so powerful that they’ll do anything and everything to protect their empire. They’re ghosts that can’t be seen just heard.

Exams Leakage

This is perhaps the most lucrative business ever and an opening for quick cash. The syndicate is estimated to net about Sh.400M each year. It has its head at Mtihani house where KNEC officials privy to the exams coordinate the flow of exam leakage. Security officers and teachers make the trickle down membership.

The cost of buying exams is passed down to parents through non-existent projects in the fee structure; this, according to Kenya Insights investigations, is a key explanation behind those exorbitant and exaggerated school fees in secondary schools.


There’s also the fee cartel in which head teachers and education ministry officials conspire to introduce illusionary projects in the fee structure. The loot is then shared as parents bare the bulk of the burden.

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This is also another lucrative field where education officials, publishers, suppliers of textbooks and teachers conspire to inflate prices of the books. It’s estimated to be raking an annual amount of up to Sh.200M. This extends to infrastructure projects where contractors conspire with head teachers and regional ministry officials

Matinagi stringent rules have sent shivers down many people’s spines and those who transacted dirty deals would take advantage of the fires to burn down evidence and doctoring records with auditing called upon statitistics. The extortion racket in the education sector is under threat and won’t go down quickly.

Matiangi got into the ministry with full knowledge of the cartel, their strengths and vowed to fight them with the aim of cleaning the education sector but they’ve fought back hard. The fight wasn’t going to be easy, dismantling a cartel needs a major strategy, and Matiangi is yet to hack it. A suggestion of convention bringing together all education stakeholders has been raised.


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Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Do you have a story, Scandal you want me to write on? Send me tips to [[email protected]]



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