Nightmare: No space, no money for extra Form One admissions

It is also emerging that the secondary schools are nursing a Sh22 billion funding deficit, further raising questions about the readiness of the institutions to operate smoothly come first term.

Already, high school managers have had face-offs with the government over unpredictable and inaccurate free education capitation flow to the institutions and even proposed fee increments to plug their deficits.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu Wednesday revealed that for the last five years, the money given to schools has been declining.

''The funds provided to the Ministry of Education have fallen short of the approved rate leading to underfunding of schools. The ministry is compelled to divide the available amount to the learners which has been increasing every year,'' Machogu said.

Machogu spoke when he appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee led by Julius Melly (MP, Tinderet).

Public schools

Machogu noted that the public secondary schools in the country presently have a population of 3,956,547 learners, which could not be satisfied by Sh65 billion allocated.

"The Sh65 billion translates to Sh16,428 per learner meaning the money given to us does not equal the Sh22,240 per learner. This means there is a funding gap below the approved figure,'' Machogu said.

Machogu added: "Next year we project that the enrolment will be higher at 4.2 million learners, if funding remains as it is, therefore, the capitation will reduce further to Sh15,476 per learner.'

Machogu said that the funding gap must be addressed urgently, even as he revealed that some 350,000 students have been receiving state funding through Nemis.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said next year schools will open with a deficit of 32 per cent in funding.

Education PS Belio Kipsang. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The quota system, which picks top performers per county is also used. In some cases, top two boys and top two girls are picked, depending on the quota. According to the data released last year, Machogu said 38,972 students were placed in national schools.

School audit

Extra County schools received 228,160 students while County schools admitted 199,027 students. Sub County schools got about 762,610 students while the Special Needs Education (SNE) schools admitted 1,819 students.

Parents now want the government to conduct an audit of the school infrastructure and address the missing gaps before the admission exercise set for January next year.

"We need a holistic kind of assessment on the labs, classes, dorms, furniture and even teachers to be able to identify what we have and how much more is needed," Obuhatsa said.

Parents who spoke to The Standard said that Form One selection issues should be fixed early as this was the last 8-4-4 group.

"The majority of parents are worried that their children may not get slots in schools they selected because of inadequate capacities in the institutions," said a parent.

The parent said children get demotivated when they do not secure spaces in schools of their choices.

"If a child selects a national school and they do not get that instead they are sent to an institution that perhaps was not in their list it gets so demoralising," the parent said.

Parents also claimed that many students miss out on their dream schools because the institutions do not have capacity.

Machogu said: "Selection process is strictly guided by the principles of merit, choice, equity and availability of space in placing candidates."