In his New Year address,president William Ruto told parents, teachers and the children of Kenya that his administration had increased allocations to the education sector and enhanced capitation for all learners. Whereby, on Monday 8 2024, learning was expected to resume in primary and secondary schools to a very different reality.
But this was received differently from the opposition leader Raila Odinga who says that the president has lied to the parents because in his research he said the truth is that at the end of the Third Term of the 2022/2023 Financial Year alone, government subsidy for Free Day Secondary Education fell way below requirement.
“The government’s own data indicate that the country had 3,690,376 learners who required Ksh82, 088,723,744 in funding. But the government approved only Ksh. 64,421,865,698. Of this approved amount, only Ksh. 64,421,850,160.01 was actually disbursed to schools, leaving a deficit of 17,666,873,584. This left some 794,231 students without any form of funding”said Raila.
Raila noted that in the Financial Year 2022/2023, the Ruto administration disbursed only Ksh.17, 339.00 instead of Ksh. 22,244 per child. In each child on this programme left a balance of Ksh.4, 905.00.While the total money owed to schools from the Financial Year 2022/2023 is Ksh. 18,101,294,280.
In the 2023/2024 Financial Year, the Ruto administration disbursed only Ksh3, 327.87 per child instead of Ksh.22, 244, a mere 14 per cent of the required amount. The president owes each child some Ksh.18, 916, 13 or 85 per cent of what is needed and Ksh 69,807,632,165 from secondary schools . It is not even clear whether the paltry 14 per cent said to have been disbursed has actually been discharged. There is a big disconnect between what the government says and what is actually implemented.
“It is not true that the Kenya Kwanza administration has enhanced any funding for free education. To ensure that every Kenyan child has a right to access free and compulsory basic education and that all students in secondary school are funded to complete their basic education, the government of Kenya began the Free Day Secondary Education programmes in 2008, with the granting of capitation per learner” he added.
He continue said that in 2008, the rate per learner was Kshs. 10,625. This was increased to Kshs. 12,870 in 2015 and then to Kshs. 22,244 in 2018. Public secondary schools were also prohibited from charging tuition fees. The president has added noting to this limit.
“As schools await opening, most parents are struggling with the reality of increased school fees of between Ksh 40,000 and Ksh 90,000 in the fee structures they have received from government secondary schools. The school fees bill is way beyond the reach of most parents” he said.
He revealed that head teachers are struggling to meet the basic resourcing needs of their schools.
“If the government Fail to release full capitation to all schools is effecting learning differently across the country. While schools with developed infrastructure and functional non-government support can survive with the shortage, poorer schools can’t. Denial of full capitation is therefore eroding fair and equitable access to education which in the fullness of time will result in disparity among regions”
“Underfunded education system, low pay, overcrowded classes and lack of resources for special education and support staff is stealing the future of children and communities at a time government officials are wallowing in luxurious living, unnecessary globetrotting and showing off millions of bundles of cash at public events” he said
He added that the funding shortage for public schools is not inevitable. It’s the direct result of corruption and deliberate and harmful political choices. It is also a deliberate continuation of a policy of suppressing regions seen to have no shares in Kenya Kwanza. It is discrimination and marginalization by another means and name. It must be resisted and government forced to deliver money to schools.
He also said “how does a government put money on so-called affordable housing but refused to finance the education of our children? Only 100 per cent funding of public schools will guarantee every child and region every opportunity to succeed. It is the only way to close achievement gaps between students from different backgrounds and we must join hands in demanding it for Kenya’s children”
Raila Therefore highlighted the following :
“1. The government must release all the monies owed to schools. It must also release capitation at the approved rate of Ksh22, 244 per child for the financial year 2023/2024.
2. In the absence of strong unions to stand up for our schools, we urge all Parents Teachers Associations and school Boards of Management across the country to rise to the occasion and demand full end equitable sharing of education funding. We will support such demands.
3. We appeal to religious leaders and civil society organizations to take up the cause of our children, call out the Kenya Kwanza administration and force it to fund the future by paying school fees.
4. I instruct our members of parliament and county assemblies to prioritize basic and higher education spending. Our legislators must embark on active steps to force the government to release public education funding, both at the Primary and secondary levels before schools resume. Money must reach schools ahead of Monday” he noted.