How education docket plans to spend Sh500b

By Alvin Mwangi
Friday, June 11th, 2021 10:34 | 2 mins read
Public Investments Committee chair Abdulswamad Nassir with his PAC counterpart Opiyo Wandayi during yesterday’s budget reading session. PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

The Education sector is among the dockets that will benefit massively from the 2021/22 budget, having been allocated close to Sh500 billion.

Presenting the budget speech in Parliament yesterday, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the sector would receive Sh202.8 billion to help support recovery programmes following lost time since the outbreak of coronavirus in March last year.

“The government continues to make sustained investments in the education sector to enhance access to quality basic and higher education,” he said.

Key among the programs that have received the lion’s share of the allocation is Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that has been allocated Sh281.7 billion and the implementation of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) which got Sh1 billion.

Initially, the Treasury had not allocated any cash for the CBC implementation until recently when the House Budget and Appropriations Committee, chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega, raised the red flag.

This is despite the government commencing preparation for the rolling out of Grade Five scheduled to start next month.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, the government has published Grade Five course books and are ready for distribution when the schools commence first term in July.

Another Sh12 billion will go towards the Free Primary Education (FPE) programme that will also cater for the health insurance (Edu Afya) for secondary school students.

The government introduced the medical scheme for secondary school learners to cover the whole period of their studies.

With regards to hiring of teachers, the government has allocated Sh2.5 billion towards recruiting over 5,000 teachers.

To improve health conditions and support education achievements of learners, the Treasury has set aside Sh1.8 billion for the school-feeding programme.

Other proposed allocations include Sh1.8 billion for construction and equipping of technical institutions and vocational training centres.

Further, Sh1.1 billion has been set aside to increase access and improve the quality of technical and vocational education and training programmes under the East Africa skills transformation and regional integration project.

This comes after 80,000 last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam candidates were placed to Tvet institutions.

Similarly, the Treasury allocated Sh4 billion for exam fees waiver for all Class Eight and Form Four candidates.

And as the need for online learning becomes more critical owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Yatani allocated Sh420 million for the digital literacy programme and ICT integration in secondary schools.

Surprisingly, digital programmes have had their budget slashed by almost 50 per cent.

In the just concluded financial year, the sector received close to Sh800 million.

Another Sh323 million will go towards the National Research Fund.

Universities have had their budget slashed by about Sh1. 4 billion from Sh77.7 billion in this financial year to Sh76.3 billion.

The reduction comes just hours after Yatani, in a supplementary budget submitted in the National Assembly on Wednesday reduced university education allocation by Sh17.2 billion on account of Non Performance of Appropriation in Aid (AIA).