By Augustine Oduor

Teachers want the cash meant for free learning to be released immediately, amid fears book suppliers might stop deliveries over unpaid debts.

The over 5,000 head teachers from across the country meeting in Mombasa said it was getting difficult to run schools without money.

Last month, Education PS James Ole Kiyiapi said schools would not get any more free learning funds meant for the second term until ‘sometime in July.’

But the Kenya Booksellers and Stationers Association (KBSA) last week said their members would no longer supply books to public secondary schools until debts amounting to Sh2 billion are cleared.

The association, which brings together sellers of books from all over the country, said secondary schools have not paid for books and stationeries delivered in January this year.

KBSA national chairman John Mbugua claimed funds meant for purchase of books were being channelled to other projects, which has caused the booksellers to suffer.

On Monday, Director of Secondary and Tertiary Education, Robert Masese, was put to task to explain the delay in disbursement.

“The ministry does not hold cash. Once we get it from the ministry, we will send it to schools between July and August,” he said.

But in an earlier interview, Kiyiapi explained the delay is a result of the ministry’s efforts to streamline the disbursement formula, a shift from the financial year programme used earlier to a calendar year-based programme.

On Monday teachers said the ministry has not explained to them why it has not fulfilled the 30:20:10 system.

Kiyiapi, however, said all the cash had been sent and added: “Most teachers might not notice this because the cash was little.”

He, however, assured the teachers that they would get the rest of the cash as soon as the budget was read.

The PS asked school principals to be patient and adjust as the new schedule of releasing free learning funds to schools takes root.

“This is an exchequer issue. It’s a method issue; it’s a flow issue. We are shifting to the formula but it will not happen immediately,” he said.