At least Sh3 billion and more than 100,000 new teachers are needed to handle the massive number of students who joined Form One this year.
Appearing before the National Assembly Education Committee, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the 100 per cent transition rule has led to overworked teachers, congestion and inadequate funding.
Prof Magoha told MPs that of the 1,083,000 candidates who sat the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination, 1,075,201 have joined Form One.
This translates to 99.8 per cent transition.
The Cabinet secretary told MPs that the ministry urgently needs Sh3 billion to expand facilities in secondary schools to accommodate more students, but has only been allocated Sh1.5 billion in the budget policy statement.
He said some Sh1.5 billion that had been budgeted earlier for school infrastructure improvement has never been sent to the ministry.
Only Sh200 million has been allocated for infrastructure improvement in primary schools.
“It is the joke of the year. This is a drop in the ocean yet we have mobilised children to go to school,” Magoha said.
On the other hand, TSC lobbied the MPs to allocate more cash for teacher recruitment.
According to TSC, the current 305,568 teachers are not enough to handle the surge in enrolment that needs an additional 104,087 teachers.
“We need more teachers to ease the burden because all classes are full and teachers are overworked,” said Dr Macharia.
She told MPs that a proposal to hire 65,000 new teachers at a cost of Sh20.2 billion has not been factored in the budget and pleaded with the legislators to intervene.
The amount would be enough to hire 40,000 intern teachers for Sh4.8 billion and some 25,000 on permanent and pensionable terms for Sh15.4 billion.
According to Macharia, only Sh3.2 billion has been factored in the budget to hire both interns and permanent teachers.
So far, only 10,000 intern teachers have been hired with about 6,000 deployed to secondary schools and the remaining 4,000 to primary schools.
Magoha told MPs that the ministry is expanding school facilities through a partnership with the World Bank-supported Secondary Education Quality Improvement Project but more needed to be done.
“As we implement the competency based curriculum, we must plan ahead. We must build secondary schools now because in three years time there will crisis during transition,” said Magoha.
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang told the committee that despite the increased enrolment, funding per child has not been increased. He said only Sh59.4 billion has been factored in the budget, leaving a deficit of Sh7.8 billion.
“The current enrolment in public secondary schools is 3,023,899 students courtesy of the 100 per cent transition and the cost per child is Sh22,244. Which means that the total requirement is Sh67.3 billion,” said Kipsang.
The PS said as a result of funding bottlenecks, the ministry has been unable to send cash to schools on time.
“We have been sending at least 21 per cent of capitation to schools in second term. This moved to 19 per cent , last year it was 14 per cent. We fear that next year we may not even send 10 per cent,” he said.
Kipsang told the MPs that the budget for school feeding programme was cut by Sh600 million last year which kept many children out of school.
In the next financial year, Kipsang said only Sh1.8 billion has been allocated against the total requirement of Sh2.8 billion.
“Additional funding is required to cater for 151-day school calendar year. In addition to this, more funds are needed to cater for urban slum schools,” he said.
The school-feeding programme is implemented through direct cash transfers and central procurement of foodstuff at education ministry headquarters.
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