School heads can breathe easy ahead of next week’s reopening after the government announced that it had released over Sh31 billion for school capitation.
In a post on social platform X, formerly Twitter, Statehouse spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said the Treasury Wednesday released Sh31.34 billion to primary, junior secondary and secondary schools.
The fund is distributed as follows: Sh4.74 billion will go towards Free Primary Education, Sh7.60 billion for Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) and Sh16.20 billion for Free Day Secondary Education.
Also released is Sh2.80 billion for school examination and invigilation fees.
The release of the funds comes amid a change in the distribution model of funds from the model that has been in operation for the last six years.
In the change, schools will now be receiving cash in a ratio of 50 per cent for first term, 30 per cent for second term and 20 per cent in third term.
The release of the funds came amid criticism by the opposition side demanding swift action by the government in funding schools.
On Tuesday, Azimio leader Raila Odinga issued a list of demands to the government over the disbursement of funds for schools ahead of the scheduled opening day on January 8.
Odinga directed President William Ruto to address the issue of capitation for all public primary and secondary schools before the resumption of learning.
The opposition chief challenged the State to meet financial obligations to schools, including settling pending bills.
“The government must release all the monies owed to schools. It must also release capitation at the approved rate of Sh22,244 per child for the financial year 2023/2024,” Odinga said.
School heads in December also called on the government to ensure the timely release of capitation to kickstart operations in schools.
Indimuli Kahi, the outgoing chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association noted that some institutions such as Primary schools and day secondary schools purely depend on capitation to operate thus the necessity to ensure release before the start of the term.
In December, School heads further called on the government to effect the increase of funds to schools proposed by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms beginning in January when schools reopen.
The headteachers want the implementation to include the proposal of a minimum essential package – a flat rate funding for schools– to run their operations.
However, it is not clear if the funds released are part of the enhanced capitation.
Indimuli Kahi, the KESSHA chairman, says that the increased capitation should be accompanied by the Minimum Essential Package.
This, Kahi says, will be a true game changer considering the escalating cost of living, and the pricey cost of teaching tools and learning materials.
The presidential reform team had proposed capitation for pre-primary learners be set at Sh1,170 per pupil. Primary pupils were allocated Sh2,237 per learner and Sh15,544 to junior secondary school learners
Currently, the government allocates Sh1,420 per child in primary school.
Those in senior school will have an increase of Sh280 bringing their amount to Ksh.22,527.
The increase, though marginal, will help ease the running of operations in schools.
“Even though it does not meet the realities of the current economic times that has pushed the prices of essential commodities sky-high it will be important for a start,” Kahi said.
For the minimum essential Package, the Working Party allocates on a yearly basis Sh70,000 to pre-primary schools, Sh537,000 to primary schools, Sh2.03 million to junior schools and Sh3.04 million to senior schools.