Public schools may close earlier if the government fails to disburse all the capitation money.
The government did not disburse the full capitation amount to schools in the 2021/22 financial year stripping the institution of about Sh5,000.
Schools may suffer the same fate this year (2022/2023) as the government still owes Sh4,300 per student.
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Indimuli Kahi said schools risk losing out on these portions of government funding for free primary education and free day secondary education for a second year in a row.
Indimuli said these funds should have been deposited before the end of the term. Schools close on August 12 for a three-week period that will end on August 27.
This means the institutions have two weeks of teaching, learning, and conducting the end-of-term examinations.
Johnson Nzioka, the Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association chairman said schools are struggling to meet their day-to-day operations due to the underfunding of schools by the government.
“One way to avert a crisis will be closing early, to save on some days that we otherwise don’t have funds to meet operations,” he added.
Indimuli indicated that the schools received a capitation of Sh4,150 per student on June 12.
“We did not receive the full capitation amount in the 2021/22 financial year and we are yet to receive the full amount of the current 2022/23 financial year,” Indimuli said.
The ripple effect, Indimuli said, has pushed schools into debt and squeezed the little resources to serve the total student population.
“We are in a very delicate situation where schools are headed for the end-of-term exams which need some financing, we also need to pay the non-teaching staff,” he added.
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang, however, said that all the money had been sent to schools.
Speaking at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) during the closure of an international curriculum conference, Kipsang said:
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“As far as we are concerned we have sent all the money to schools.”
In June, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Mochogu said the government would release the capitation funds after an outburst by school heads.
While answering questions on Wednesday last week from Members of Parliament, Machogu said that there was a delay in the disbursement of funds.
Machogu said he had liaised with Treasury to release the funds.
But Nzioka on Thursday said that schools are still receiving funds meant for the first term.
“The situation is not good at all, we are anxious that some of our school heads could be taken to court for defaulting payments, and we hope that the Ministry of Education will provide us with legal assistance when this happens,” Nzioka said.
The shortfall has left schools with a tough balancing act in running its affairs, he said, leaving the free primary education programme in jeopardy; and by extension the free day secondary programme.
“For a couple of years now, the government has not been giving the full allocation to schools. They slice the amount and other funds are retained making it hard to run schools,” Nzioka said.
Nzioka says the government has, only sent the capitation that ought to have been given in the first term.