State releases Sh17b capitation funds to schools

Education CS George Magoha addresses the press at Wagwer Secondary School in Gem, Siaya County. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Nearly Sh17 billion has finally been released to public schools to cater for the free primary and secondary education this academic year.

This comes as a relief to public schools, some which had been unable to pay suppliers and nonteaching staff due to inadequate cash.

Speaking at Hospital Hill High School in Nairobi, Education CS George Magoha said Sh14.2 billion of the funds would go towards subsidised secondary school education, while Sh2.7 billion would support learners in primary schools.

He said with the release of the capitation funds, principals should not send any student home for fees. 

“Principals should dialogue with parents of learners with fee balances to find practical ways of clearing any arrears,” said Prof Magoha.

Some heads of schools had threatened to send learners home for fees, blaming the government for the delayed capitation money.

A teacher who sought anonymity said the government gave them too little too late. “A school with 200 students, and government funding Sh16,000 which goes to stationery: After buying the books, we have nothing left to pay subordinate staff,” he said.

Prof Magoha however acknowledged efforts by some teachers to retain learners in school despite difficult times caused by inflation.

“Some day and boarding schools’ principals have retained children in schools even as we struggle and I want to commend them,” he said Magoha, advising parents in day schools to pay for the feeding programme to enable learners to utilise time in school.

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.

Each secondary school student receives Sh22,244 per year. The government also gives Sh1,420 for each pupil in primary school.

The CS assured Kenyans of the government’s commitment to ensure the more than 10,000 classrooms needed for CBC are completed before the August 9 elections. 

He said the Education ministry had successfully delivered 6,495 new classrooms under the first phase of the CBC infrastructure development.  

Prof Magoha said Mombasa and Nairobi were lagging behind in supporting the government effort to meet its target. “Nyanza region is leading, while we have a problem in Nairobi and Mombasa County. If we have commissioned classrooms in a remote area of Alego Usonga, why not here,” said the CS.