We’ve disbursed money, Education CS Magoha assures schools

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Education CS George Magoha (right) at Moi Girls, Nairobi, during the Form One admission yesterday. Photo/PD/Tabitha Mbatia

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha yesterday said the government had released Sh32.5 billion to cater for free day secondary school education, even as many schools insisted they were yet to receive the funds.

“The government has sent money for free day secondary today. Do not listen to what other people are saying. No principal is allowed to send children home for lack of fees,” the CS said yesterday when he monitored the first day of Form One admission at Moi Girls, Nairobi.

Magoha said all students would be admitted without conditions.

“They will be given unfettered access irrespective of their ability to pay or physical condition, for instance, girls who became pregnant or have delivered,” the CS said.

But many school heads said they were yet to get the funds.

Disbursement of capitation funds is done on a ratio of 50 per cent for first term, 30 per cent and 20 per cent in second and third terms respectively, where each student receives at least Sh22,240 every year.

A new student (right) arrives at Moi Girls, Eldoret yesterday. The school admitted 350 Form One students this year. Photo/PD/Jimmy Githaka

In Mombasa, Principals raised concern over delay in disbursement of funds saying it could cripple learning, particularly after Form Ones enrollment. 

Primary school heads have also expressed similar concerns over the delay in release of the funds and were afraid of running into a financial crisis that would affect the running of the institutions.

Mombasa Kenya National Union of Teachers national executive council member Dan Aloo said there had not been clear communication on the matter.

High admission

“Let the government put its house in order instead of creating more crises by pushing parents to take their kids to schools in the name of free education but end up paying school fees because of inadequacy of the capitation funds,” he said.

Frida Odongo, the acting headteacher of the new Kongowea Secondary School, said the day school is yet to receive the funds.

“We are affected by delay of funds especially because this is a day school which entirely depends on government money and we expect to admit higher number of students due to 100 per cent transition policy,”she said.

Ezra Kalonzo displays his admission letter. He failed to report to Kijabe Boys High yesterday because his guardian could not raise Sh40,000 in school fees. PD/Raphael Munge

The school had admitted 198 students on its first day, a number which, she said, was expected to rise by end of the week.

Tudor Day secondary school deputy headteacher Neville Onyimbo said the 100 per cent transition policy was not well planned.

“The government requires the school to continue admitting students even when there are no classes to accommodate them,” he said.

In Thika, heavy rains delayed the admission process, with parents and students who had reported in various schools as early as 7am having to wait for hours before they were admitted.

In most schools, the process started as late as 11:30am after the rains had subsided and ended late in the evening.

Other than the rains, Thika Director of Education Ronald Mbogo said the process was smooth as most parents had complied with requirements.

In Eldoret, hundreds of Form One students braved long queues waiting for admission amid concerns about lack of adequate facilities to handle the high number of learners reporting.

Limited space

Christine Chumba, the Chief Principal of Moi Girls High school said admission process was smooth despite high number of new students.

Acting Kongowea Secondary School headteacher Frida Odongo with the Form One class of 2020 yesterday. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

“We have admitted 240 students in Form One so far and the number is expected to reach 350 by close of the day or tomorrow (today),” said Chumba.

At UG High School, the principal Mercy Juma said they faced the challenge of limited classrooms to accommodate the increased number of students.

“We are overstretched with learning facilities and shortage of teachers owing to the big number of students joining Form One,” she said.

At Nakuru Boys High School, principal Mike Yator said the institution, which currently has six streams, will require expansion to accommodate more students. This year, the school is expecting 350 students.

At Nakuru Girls’ High School, which has a student population of 1,800, extra classrooms were built last year to ease congestion.

In the past year, the government has improved infrastructure in 864 institutions  to make more room for increased admissions. The facilities include boarding facilities, classrooms, dining halls and laboratories.

The Ministry of Education says it has built 700 classrooms in secondary schools in the last financial year.

The minister reiterated that day wings in boarding schools will be maintained to ensure attainment of the 100 per cent enrolment policy.

The Ministry said the day wings would boost capacity and delink admission to bed capacity. - Reporting by Irene Githinji, Roy Lumbe, Sophie Njoka, Mathew Ndung’u and Winstone Chiseremi

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