Sh676bn needed this fiscal year for CBC success

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023 03:15 | By
A teacher takes her pupils through a CBC lesson at Umoja Springboard Academy in Nairobi’s Umoja Estate recently.
A teacher takes her pupils through a CBC lesson at Umoja Springboard Academy in Nairobi’s Umoja Estate recently. PHOTO/Ndegwa Gathungu

At least Sh676 billion is needed to successfully implement the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) in the current financial year.

According to the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms report, this leaves a funding gap of about Sh123 billion, given that the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2023/24 had set the education budget at Sh553.3 billion.

The amount covers the cost of reforms to be undertaken at all levels of education, including pre-primary, primary, junior and senior school, Special Needs Education, teacher education, technical and university education in the context of CBC.

“The implementation of CBC reforms will require effective resource mobilisation, effective utilisation of resources and adoption of sustainable financing mechanisms,” says the report presented to President William Ruto on Tuesday.

Implementing CBC in primary education this financial year is expected to cost at Sh146 billion. Another Sh53 billion will be needed for junior school and Sh194 billion for senior school while teacher training is expected to cost Sh214 million.

Cost of ECDE

Other requirements between now and June next year include Sh20.9 billion for Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE). Another Sh67.3 billion will be needed for technical and vocational education, Sh108 million for apprenticeship, Sh154 billion for university education, Sh4.4 billion for adult education, literacy and non-formal education and another Sh14.5 billion for central administration, including standards and quality assurance. All these components bring the total to Sh676 billion.

Considering that additional resources will be needed to phase out the 8-4-4 classes, the working group has stated that the financing gap is likely to widen, posing a major challenge for the government in implementing the CBC reforms given the tax collection constraints it is facing and the mandatory requirement to pay debts first.

The national government is responsible for funding all levels of education except for Pre-Primary, which falls under counties. Between Financial Year 2019/20 and 2022/23, education expenditure as a share of the total national government expenditure averaged at 16.7 per cent, with spending in basic education alone averaging 12.3 per cent.  The average expenditure in tertiary education as a share of total national expenditure was 3.7 per cent.

“Within the education sector, the bulk of expenditure was in basic education, accounting for an average of 74 per cent of the allocated funds, while tertiary education averaged 21.9 per cent. The balance was spent on administration and related activities,” the report states.

Increased annually

During the four years, spending in both pre-primary and primary and secondary increased annually, while it went down in tertiary institutions in 2020/21 before increasing in subsequent years. Overall, expenditure in tertiary education recorded a modest increase.

A further analysis has shown that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) consumes, on average, 75.5 per cent of basic education expenditure. Its expenditure covers emoluments for teachers in public primary, secondary, special needs, and tutors in middle level training colleges. The rest of the money covers capitation grants for primary and secondary schools, special needs education, quality assurance and administrative costs.

Capitation grant is the money sent to schools from the Ministry based on the number of learners in each institution.

The government introduced Free Primary Education in 2003 with a capitation of Sh1,020 per child per year. This has since increased to Sh1,420, notwithstanding the high cost of living and the higher cost of implementing CBC compared to 8-4-4.

The Sh1,420 is split into two parts; tuition costs (Sh731) and operation costs (Sh689). The money is released in three tranches based on school terms.

Costs incurred

“The assumption is that the resources the government provides through capitation are adequate to cover teaching and learning resources and activities. However, parents incur costs for boarding, meals, supplementary learning materials and infrastructural development, among other requirements,” the report says.

After free primary education, the government introduced free day secondary schooling (FDSE) after the 2008 election, with capitation pegged at Sh10,625 per student per year. This money was to support tuition. It was increased to Sh22,244 per learner per year in 2017.

Parents and guardians are not supposed to pay any levies but those with learners in day and boarding schools incur the cost of meals, transport and accommodation.

Although the government will continue to be a major source of capitation, the taskforce report states that the contribution made by parents will be key for boarding schools.

“Going forward, the contribution of other players in education is bound to increase to meet growing demand. Although the government has made important strides in the provision of capitation to schools, the current level is inadequate to meet the rising cost of goods and services since it does not factor in inflation,” the working group says.

An analysis of the past four years revealed that expenditure in education in general and in basic education as a share of national government expenditure was on an upward trend, and the same is expected to continue in coming years.

This, they say, calls for measures to ensure school managers properly manage the funds if the country is to realise the full benefit of the investment, even as they stated that the current audit of school funds is weak.

According to the taskforce, capitation to schools is based on enrolment yet in some schools, the amount may be below the threshold needed to effectively sustain the running of the school’s operations. This is why the taskforce has recommended that capitation be increased.

The team also called for adoption of a Minimum Essential Package to schools of Sh70,200 for pre-primary; Sh537,120 for primary education; Sh2 million for junior school, Sh1.9 million for special needs education and Sh3 million for senior school.

The taskforce has also called for implementation of a minimum essential package to cushion schools with enrolment below the optimum level.

Similarly, it has recommended implementation of a revised capitation in view of the realities of CBC, asking the government to allocate Sh1,170 for pre-primary; Sh2,238 for primary level and Sh15,043 for junior school. It also proposed Sh22,527 for day senior school;  Sh19,800 for day special needs and Sh38,280 for boarding special education and consider increasing the grant for Adult and Continuing Education.

If the team’s recommendations are implemented the capitation and grants will be reviewed every three years.

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