Expectations high as schools await free education billions

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Education CS George Magoha assesses learning at Kianjau Primary School in Thika. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndung’u

Public schools across the country are waiting with bated breath tomorrow’s release of funds to enable smooth running, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said.

Prof Magoha yesterday said the government has disbursed Sh14.6 billion and another Sh4 billion capitation funds for secondary and primary schools, respectively.

He said the money credited to various school bank accounts could, however, experience delays to reflect due to banking procedures, but assured all institutions should have their money by Thursday.

“We are going into the unknown but we are optimistic. Even though I had earlier indicated that only primary schools’ Sh4 billion would be released by Monday, with the President’s intervention even the secondary schools’ Sh14.6 billion were released simultaneously,” said the CS.

Magoha made the remarks when he assessed the progress of schools reopening at Kianjau Primary School in the Kiandutu slums of Thika.

There are about 24,000 public primary and at least 9,100 secondary schools.

The CS also warned school administrators against diverting the money, saying they must be used prudently.

“Please use this money for what it is meant for. I have no plans to make any extra cash this year. This money belongs to the children,” he said.  

The CS also warned head teachers and principals against sending children home over unpaid development monies.

“I have been told that children are being sent away because of development money. We will act swiftly on any teacher doing that,” he warned. 

“We are not sleeping. We are doing everything possible for the benefit of the children. If anybody does not get their money by Thursday, let them look for me,” added the CS.

Magoha also said  80 per cent of learners in all regions, save  for Coast and North Eastern, have reported back to school.

“We have placed a keen eye in these areas and with the help of local administrators, we have commenced a search for all children who are supposed to be in school.

We will firmly persuade all learners to report back to school,” he said.

The CS was optimistic of a 100 per cent reporting by tomorrow across the country, saying that besides a few masks challenges in places like Lamu, there were no serious issues pertaining to the return to school.

“Reports that 50 per cent of students reported to school by Monday are untrue. The rate of reporting is very good.

It is a journey that we must accomplish. It is not political but a professional and service journey to our children, and therefore we remain focused to ensuring it happens,” he said.

He lauded teachers for being innovative, including pitching tents in schools and assembling learners under trees to ensure  they are all accommodated in schools, the inadequate learning facilities notwithstanding.

Education Principal Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang was in Kajiado, where he urged teachers and learners to ensure they complied with Covid-19 safety protocols.

“You must wear masks properly and wash your hands as frequently as possible to protect yourselves, colleagues, your teachers and parents,” Kipsang said.

The PS urged teachers to act as role models to students by wearing masks properly, saying students will be strict or lax with the regulations on facemasks depending on how the teachers behave.

And from Mombasa, Education CAS, Zack Kinuthia said there was a positive turnout. He has expressed optimism that all learners will have reported back to school by Friday.

“We are getting good reports from Turkana to Nyanza to  Coast  and even up to the Mountain and Valleys and generally the state of reopening is encouraging.

However, every region has its own peculiar challenges that surround it and we want to ensure that parents bring all their children to school,” said Kinuthia.

“Children must be brought to school. It  is no longer negotiable. The Constitution guarantees basic education as a right for all children,” he added.

Meanwhile, Magoha reiterated that schools in flood-prone regions like Baringo have received money to rebuild their schools.

He said  the government is working with communities in various areas to ensure smooth learning of children in all schools.

“The schools that cannot be rehabilitated have received Sh10 million each to start the process acquiring new learning premises while those who have moved to other schools were given Sh4 million to ensure learners are comfortable,” he said.

The CS also urged parents to desist from singling out the famous public schools for their children who are seeking transfers saying they cannot hold all learners at the same time.

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