Machogu, headteachers differ on Sh11 billion capitation for term 1

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu (centre) speaks at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete, Nairobi. [Robert Tomno, Standard]

Secondary schools across the country now risk losing upto Sh11 billion meant for running operations in the institutions amid a prolonged financial crisis that threatens to disrupt operations.

This as the tutors and the Ministry of education read from different scripts on the financial position.

Last week, the school heads complained that the Ministry had not only delayed to release funding for second term but also failed to give the full funds earmarked for first term, totaling to about Sh11 billion in arrears.

But on Thursday, the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu contradicted the school heads saying both primary and secondary schools had so far received the full capitation amount for first term.

“No school is closing down because the 50 per cent capitation has been given to each secondary school and all our primary schools,” Machogu said.

The government provides a total of Sh22,244 annually for every student in public secondary schools.

It is distributed in three tranches with 50 per cent of the funds given in first term, 30 per cent in second term and the remaining 20 per cent in third term.

Headteachers say the amount received for first term were less than 50 per cent.

With the total amount of funding to secondary schools being Sh22,244, the heads indicate they were supposed to get Sh11,000 per student.

A document by KESSHA titled Free Secondary Education Capitation, 2024, shows the Ministry released capitation of Sh8,319.68 per learner for first term.

“Therefore, a balance of Sh2,802.32 is still owing,” the document reads.

However, the CS said that the amount the ministry was planning to release is the 30 per cent meant for second term.

This means that the institutions could lose the Sh2,802 per student.

With 4.1 million learners in public secondary schools, this translates to Sh11 billion that was meant for the over 10,000 secondary schools in the country.

“So what we are going to distribute this particular month is another 30 per cent for second term,” said Machogu.

He spoke at the Kenya School of Government where he led the official launch the fourth National Education Sector Strategic Plan to guide the Ministry providing access, equity, and quality education and training to the citizens in the next five years.

The plan indicates  that the government needs over Sh4 trillion over the next five years to fund the education sector.

The plague of underfunding in secondary schools has persisted over the last five years.

A petition presented before the National Assembly committee on Education in December last year showed that the institutions are owed Sh54 billion in capitation arrears.

The funds were accumulated between 2018 to 2023.

In March, the Basic Education Principal Secretary Belion Kipsang admitted that the capitation per learner for free secondary school education was slashed from Sh22,224 to Sh17,000. 

This means that the institutions were receiving Sh5,000 less in capitation per learner.

Kipsang said the amount was reduced due to the increased learner population despite the set budget of Sh65 billion remaining the same. 

He spoke before the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.