This is the second week in the schools’ calendar for third term and the government is still non-committal on when the free learning funds will be disbursed to the institutions. Both primary and secondary school heads have raised the red flag over the delayed release of the capitation money, warning that the financial crisis could cripple learning across the country. Among the issues listed by the school heads is failure to clear balances from suppliers.
What is, however, more worrying is the revelation that schools may not adequately prepare this year’s national examinations’ candidates well if money is not released on time.
Secondary school heads association said last week that they may not purchase necessary chemicals for exam practicals in good time. They said some exam materials require time and resources to make available.
These are legitimate and urgent concerns that must be looked into. The Government disburses the capitation money on a ratio of 50 per cent for first term, 30 per cent in the second and 20 per cent for third term. This means that by the start of third term, only 20 per cent should be sent to schools. Reports that there are arrears from the second term, pushing the needed funds to over Sh12 billion are disturbing. The National Treasury must work even harder, and urgently so, to restore normalcy in schools.
On the same note, the government must create an enabling environment in schools by resolving teacher issues as learners settle for the critical term. Last week, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) made serious claims that the schools’ online registration – National Education Management Information System (Nemis) – has locked out many institutions, excluding a number of students, some of whom are candidates.
While it may be a logical concern that the change of leadership at the National Treasury may have caused disruptions in disbursements, the existing structures ought to have been aware of the repercussions of failure to release the money to schools in good time.
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