State, headteachers differ over funds as reopening beckons

Thursday, December 17th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia at a press briefing. Photo/PD/File

Irene Githinji and KNA 

The government yesterday differed with school heads over the release of funds to support infrastructure development ahead of the reopening of institutions in January.

Whereas the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Education ministry Zack Kinuthia maintained that the government had released Sh14.5 billion to schools in October, headteachers maintained that no such funds had reached learning institutions.

In an interview with the People Daily, Kinuthia promised that more funds will be released to schools before they reopen in two weeks time.

“Money was released in October and as much as it may not be enough to cover everything, it was something to assist in partly preparing the schools and head teachers are experts in prioritizing projects,” said Kinuthia.

Kiunthia’s assertion contradicts the teachers’ claims that they are yet to receive any money from the State both under the free education and Covid-19 mitigation programmes.

Con the minister

On Tuesday, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KSSHA) chairman Kahi Indimuli blamed the government for failing to release the money for infrastructure development to schools.

“Though the government has made the promise to release the money, we are yet to receive it.

We are pleading with the government to disburse the money as soon as possible to enable headteachers make the arrangements for the schools reopening,” Indimuli told the People Daily on Tuesday.

But yesterday, Kinuthia pleaded with the headteachers to plan accordingly with the little available funds. He said that the government has pronounced itself on re-opening and nothing has changed, noting that headteachers and principals are expected to take a lead in planning ahead.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that no child should be left behind when schools reopen in January.

He ordered the Interior Ministry, though chiefs and their assistants to ensure all children report back to school next month, even as he urged parents and guardians to facilitate resumption in learning.

“In that regard, and in line with the policy of the government on universal and compulsory basic education for all children of up to 18 years, all parents and guardians are required to facilitate their children to resume learning in January,” the President, said during Jamhuri Day celebrations last Saturday.

In October, some Sh13.2 billion was sent to secondary schools to cover Free Day Secondary Education while Sh1.2 billion was disbursed for Free Primary Education.

The ministry had already stated that the next disbursement will be made once the learners resume learning.

That there will be no immediate disbursement is contrary to head teachers and principals’ expectations to receive a boost to ready schools for January, and are also at a loss on how to deal with congestion when all learners resume.

Meanwhile about 1,715 learners from six public schools in Kisumu County risk missing school as from January following the submerging of their institutions.

Four primary schools and two secondary schools in Nyando and Nyakach sub counties are submerged to knee level due to backflow of waters from Lake Victoria since mid this year, following heavy downpour in the area.

According to the Kisumu County Director of Education Isaac Atebe, the schools need 65 tents and portable toilets before January 4 when all children are expected to report back to schools after 10 months of closure due to Covid-19 pandemic.

He said 10 tents have been procured courtesy of a donation from UNICEF.

Atebe, who spoke during Kisumu County Development Implementation Coordination Committee meeting said the schools affected are Kandaria and Ombaka mixed secondary schools, Kandaria, Nyamrundu,Ogenya, and Oseth primary schools.

“This necessitated relocation of the affected schools to nearby institutions where currently Grade 4, Class 8 and KCSE candidates are undertaking their studies,” said Atebe.

More on News