EDUCATION

Finally schools receive capitation funds

Finally schools receive capitation funds

Finally schools receive capitation funds

The Government has disbursed Sh30.5 billion to cover secondary school education capitation, loans and scholarships for university students.

The funds have been released as secondary school principals plan to break for the April holidays a week earlier than the scheduled date due to the financial burden that has besieged the learning institutions across the country for months.

Education Cabinet Secretary Mr Ezekiel Machogu said Sh7 billion will cater for capitation for public schools at the Junior Secondary School while Sh16 billion cover capitation grants under the free day secondary school education programme.

At the higher education level, the government has released Sh6.794 billion for loans towards the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) while Sh3.98 billion will be disbursed for scholarships through the Universities Fund (UF).

“The funds are to be received in schools before they close for the April holidays next week. This brings to Sh32 billion and Sh12 billion the total amount released by the government for loans and scholarships respectively this financial year,” said the CS in a statement.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) National Chairman, Mr Willy Kuria confirmed that the funds have begun tricking into their accounts.

“The funds have begun tricking our school accounts. But the school suppliers are already camping in our institutions,” said Mr Kuria who is also the Murang’a High School principal.

Mr Kuria said principals have had a hard time convincing the creditors for months that there was no money in schools.

The CS said in January this year the government released Sh14.4 billion to cover scholarships and loans for Government-sponsored first-year students in universities under the New Higher Education Funding Model.

The loans also covered loans for semester two of the 2023/2024 Academic Year for continuing students.

Mr Machogu said in October last year, Sh5.3 billion was disbursed for student loans and  a further Sh3.9 billion for scholarships for first years under the New Funding Model.

“Some Sh10.3 billion was released to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) in September 2023 to cater for continuing student loans in Universities and TVET Colleges,” he explained.

Under the New Higher Education Funding model, the CS said the Universities Fund will disburse funds directly to the institutions. On its part, HELB will disburse tuition loans directly to respective universities/colleges and upkeep loans to the respective student bank accounts or mobile phone numbers.

He said universities will receive the scholarship portions for their respective students.

The categorisation of students was realised through a reliable scientific method, a Means Testing Instrument (MTI), used to determine the student’s level of financial need, to ensure they are supported adequately.

The New Higher Education Funding Model applies to the students who sat for KCSE from the year 2022 going forward.

The last KCSE examination candidates who sat for the national examination last year will form the second cohort of students to be funded under the new funding model once they join universities and Colleges later this year.

Last week, the National Assembly Minority Leader, Mr Opiyo Wandayi, challenged President William Ruto to come out and tell Kenyans whether his administration has done away with free primary and free secondary education due to delays in disbursements.

Mr Wandayi painted a grim picture of how schools are struggling due to the non-remittance of capitation funds adding, that the Kenya Kwanza administration owes close to Sh52.8 billion in free day school education funds, dating back to the year 2021.

In a statement to newsrooms, the Ugunja MP said the current capitation of Sh22, 244 per learner per annum was arrived at back in 2017 should be adjusted upwards to take into account the rising inflation.

“Teachers and parents should stop struggling in fear and speak out boldly for our children whose future is being stolen by this regime,” he said.

Mr Wandayi said Kenyans must know that things are not working in the education sector with school heads running out of ideas to run schools without money and parents unable to afford school fees that the government promised it would cater for.

However, Mr Machogu said the government is committed to remitting the funds.

He refuted claims of a crisis besieging the education sector assuring stakeholders that the funds will be disbursed soon.

In a bid to make ends meet, Mr Wandayi said some schools have resorted to either increasing boarding fees, food rationing, or changing the students’ menus altogether.

“Amid all the chaos in the education sector, the government is still not transparent about this matter and has resorted to lies. In the current financial year, 2023/2024, schools have received only Sh7,348 out of the required total of Sh22,244 per learner per annum,” said the MP.

Mr Wandayi disclosed some school officials say the figure disbursed is as low as Sh3,877 per learner.

Students across the country are currently sitting for exams to break for the second term, amidst the harsh economy bedeviling the institutions.

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