How the Kenyan Government loses millions to ghost students

NAIROBI: The Government could be losing millions of shillings annually through inflated enrollment figures by primary and secondary school heads, a new audit has revealed.

The Standard has established that the Education ministry could be losing up to Sh1 billion annually allocated for ghost students as the ministry lacks a full-proof system to verify admission figures. Sources at the ministry revealed that nearly half a million ghost learners may have been receiving school capitation (Government subsidies) annually.

Data from the ministry shows that primary school enrollment in 2014 stood at 9.95 million children against 9.55 million from the actual census done in last year.

This means that some 400,000 ghost learners may have received capitation money in 2014.

And in the same year, the ministry's data indicates that the enrollment figures for secondary school stood at 2.33 million last year. But the 2014 census indicates that only 2.31 students were in secondary schools.

This means that another 20,000 ghost students may have received capitation money from the Government.

Every primary child receives Sh1,420 annually while secondary students get Sh12,687 each.

Computed, some Sh568 million may have been paid for non-existent learners in primary schools and another Sh253 million may have been lost to ghost secondary school students.

The figures further show that the Government remits Sh28 billion annually to all public secondary schools and another Sh14 billion is sent to primary schools. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich increased capitation to schools this financial year, with Sh32.7 billion set aside for free day secondary schools.

Teacher shortage

Another Sh14.1 billion, Mr Rotich said, would be directed to facilitate free primary education.

The Basic Education Statistical Booklet (2014) launched by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi Tuesday, also revealed that the teacher shortage has not reached crisis levels and lists major scores in the education sector.

"In the past, several attempts to develop a comprehensive Education Management Information System to deliver timely and reliable education data in support of education planning and management has not yielded the expected results," Prof Kaimenyi said.