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Top private schools to get funding from State

By Augustine Oduor | September 13th 2018
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion (right) with Union's Chairman Wycliffe Omuchayi. [Jenipher Wachie/Standard]

Top performing private schools may get funding from the Government if the Ministry of Education adopts a new international financing proposal.

The new multi-billion education funding system will see private schools that produce best results rewarded through a comprehensive Government funding dubbed Education Outcome Fund (OED).

OED is an initiative of International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity and the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG).

The programme projects to raise Sh100 billion to pay for ‘services’, which will be offered by private schools in Africa and the Middle East.

Kenya is among the few countries earmarked for piloting of the project already rejected by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).

Burkina Faso, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia are also targeted in the first phase.

Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Liberia, Palestine, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe will roll out the project under the second phase.

Under the programme, private schools will receive financing from bilateral donors through national aid budgets if they meet the outcomes targets.

Knut has already cautioned Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed against adopting such initiative, saying children in public schools will be disadvantaged.

“We urge you not to participate in this new education financing mechanism's upcoming pilot,” reads a letter by Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.

Mr Sossion says the fund disregards democratic governance of education by choosing directly to fund private education providers rather than strengthening public systems, in clear contravention of the global commitment made through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

In Kenya, private schools perform better than most public schools, a development that will no doubt see these institutions get most of funds.

The letter dated September 5 and addressed to Dr Amina further says given the scarcity of resources, it would be wrong for EOF to plan to transfer taxpayer funds intended for the well-being of children to private investors.

“This will contribute to commercialisation and commodification of education and legitimise profit making in the provision of education, and weaken efforts to strengthen and expand the provision of inclusive and equitable quality free education for all,” said Sossion.

The EOF concept, however, says that the funding model’s strength lies in the fact that it will only pay for outcomes achieved.

Learning processes

In its letter, Knut argues that the results-based financing distorts quality teaching and learning processes by focusing on narrow outcomes rather than the development of the whole child.

“With funding based on students’ test score outcomes, teachers are encouraged to teach to the test,” said Sossion.

He said results-based financing creates perverse incentives to invest in short-term gains rather than long-term system strengthening.

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