Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

Schools in dilemma as State delays release of funds for students

Public schools are yet to receive Sh36 billion to cater for free education the government promised to release by last Friday, making it hard for them to continue operating.

Several secondary school principals and primary school head teachers who spoke to the Nation wondered how the government expects them to manage without funding.

“It is high time the Ministry of Education and the National Treasury learnt to tell the truth. The truth will help teachers plan effectively. If you say cash will be in school next week, let it be there next week,” said a principal of a national school.

Secondary schools are supposed to receive Sh30 billion and primary schools Sh6 billion. But with a high number of students having reported for Form One this year due to the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school policy, principals lamented that it is becoming hard to operate.

“The available resources are already strained, and we cannot tell when the cash will be released,” lamented another principal.

Principals of day schools have been particularly hard hit because the government provides free education for students in their schools, so they cannot ask for any money from parents.

Most of principals and head teachers who spoke to the Nation said they last checked their school bank accounts on Friday last week, but the funds had not been disbursed.

On Sunday, the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) Chairman, Mr Nicholas Gathemia. confirmed that schools are yet to receive capitation. “Most schools have checked their accounts and there is no money. Will also check on Monday to see if they will have released the capitation,” he said.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education (Kuppet) Secretary-General Akelo Misori said the government is making it difficult for principals to manage schools. “Schools re-opened on January 3, and now we are heading to February without many. Students are about to go for half term. There are also several co-curricular activities lined up this term. This can only happen if we have capitation,” he said.

Mr Misori wondered why these institutions have not received cash yet they already have bank accounts.

Education PS Belio Kipsang could not be reached for comment.

The government has already indicated that this year’s capitation will be disbursed through the National Education Management Information System (Nemis), unlike in the past when the Ministry of Education relied on the information provided by school heads.

Last week, the Ministry of Education indicated that 500 secondary schools were likely to miss out on government funding because they had not opened bank accounts, as required by the Ministry. This means some 300, 000 students risk missing out on the funding

The government provides Sh22,000 for each student in secondary school and Sh1,420 per primary school student.

Twenty-one schools in Nairobi County have not opened bank accounts, while Nandi County has 22, Siaya County 14 and West Pokot 21.

“Tharaka Nithi has seven schools, Taita-Taveta has six while Uasin Gishu has 19 schools without bank accounts,” reads a report by the Ministry of Education.

Last week, National treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich attributed the delay in releasing the funds to a late request by the Ministry of Education.

Head teachers had expected to receive the money at the beginning of the term. Schools have to pay non-teaching staff and teachers hired by their boards of management, as well as suppliers.