State to disburse Sh28b school fund
The Sh28 billion free education funds will hit the accounts of public secondary and primary schools’ tomorrow, the government assured yesterday.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu apologised to the country for the delay to disburse the capitation for public primary and secondary schools.
He told MPs that the Ministry expects to receive about Sh28 billion today which will be immediately disbursed to the respective learning institutions by tomorrow.
“We are sorry for the delay to disburse the money but by the end of the week the money will be in the accounts of schools,” Machogu said yesterday in Parliament.
According to the CS, the National Treasury was supposed to have given the money by last Friday but there was a slight delay but the situation has now been addressed.
“We engaged with National Treasury Principal Secretary, Dr Chris Kiptoo yesterday morning because it is an issue that is concerning not only me but the entire country. He confirmed that the funds will be in the Ministry by today and thereafter we will be able to disburse the same to all our schools countrywide and by Friday schools will be able to receive capitation,” he assured the MPs.
The MPs also wanted to know what the Ministry will do to cushion schools from the high cost of food commodities given that capitation is already below budget.
The CS responded saying that the Government is aware some suppliers increased the prices of some commodities this year, for instance a 50kg bag of rice rose from Sh4,500 to Sh7,200.
“When we checked the market, we found the price was still Sh4,500 so even now we are insisting that where schools cannot be able to get these prices for a bag or rice or even beans they should procure from Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) and they should compare the prices they are getting in the market with what we have in our KNTC stores,” he said.
Machogu said sometimes schools give figures that do not conform with the market prices, especially when they are competitive.
Principals have decried the cash crisis in schools, coupled with the skyrocketing cost of food commodities.
Second term started about a month ago but schools have not received any funds, a situation that has become a toll order for principals to run the institutions smoothly.
Last week, public secondary schools said they have had to suspend all co-curricular activities owing to delay in receiving the funds.
The Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KSSHA) Chairperson Kahi Indimuli said that they had to suspend competitions indefinitely, even as he warned that operations in schools could get worse if the Government does not release funds immediately.
“There is no money as the Government has not released funds for schools for the second term. In fact, most of us are only operating at the mercy of suppliers who have agreed to continue supplying our schools with essential commodities on credit,” said Indimuli.
“The situation has been compounded by the current economic situation which has made many parents unable to pay school fees. Head teachers have no other sources of raising money other than through fees and Government capitation,” he added.
The Government allocates Sh22,244 per learner annually, under the Free Day Secondary School Education (FDSE) programme, which is distributed as 50:30:20 for the three terms.
The capitation for Free Primary Education (FPE) is capped at Sh1,420 per child but the primary school head teachers have been calling for an increase of the amount to about Sh7,500.
For Junior Secondary School, the Government provides Sh15,000 per learner as capitation to facilitate free learning in all public primary schools.
At least 30 per cent of secondary schools are boarding schools while 70 per cent are day schools, with the CS saying that a majority of parents prefer to take their children to National and Extra county schools, which further stretches their capacity.
“We want to equip more of our day schools and parents should see the need to take their children to day schools. The national schools cannot be able to accommodate more than we have because even now, the intake goes beyond,” he explained.
The Ministry said last month that it still has a significant budget shortfall in the 2023/24 Financial Year given the critical functions it is to implement.
The Ministry has been allocated Sh135.48 billion, comprising Sh115.773 billion for recurrent and another Sh19.707 billion for development.
According to the Ministry, the current enrolment of 3,938,109 in secondary schools at the rate of Sh22,244 gives a total requirement of Sh87.6 billion but the proposed allocation for Financial Year 2023/24 of Sh65.386 billion for FDSE can only cater for 2,939,489 learners.
“Some 998,620 learners are not covered under the FDSE programme. We need an additional Sh22.2 billion to fully cater for these learners,” the Ministry said last month.