Primary headteachers want state increase school capitation

Primary school head teachers yesterday presented their wish list to the government and they believe if approved it will help them improve the quality of education.

In the list of demands, they proposed that the annual capitation per child be increased from Sh1,400 to Sh7,500.

The head teachers, who run more than 23,000 schools, said they want more funds because of inflation and the high cost of living.

Johnson Nzioka, the chair of Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) said the cost of running a primary school with 400 pupils comes to about Sh3 million per year.

He told the 18th Kepsha annual conference at the Sheikh Zayed Children Welfare Centre in Mombasa on Tuesday, their demands are geared towards making the learning environment better for the children, including those with special needs.

Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, represented President William Ruto.

“The last review on capitation was done in 2010 when it was capped at Sh1,400 per child. This figure falls far below the requirements to effectively run a primary school,” Nzioka said. “In our proposal, we have taken into account inflation rates, cost of living and depreciation.”

They urged the government to promote head teachers in Grade D1, saying the progression of the tutors at that level has stagnated for long.

“We also request that the progression of head teachers in Grade D1 be considered, given that many have stagnated in that grade,” he said.

Dr Kipsang promised to forward the proposals to the government and said the heads were shouldering huge responsibility after it was said that the junior secondary school (JSS) will be domiciled in primary schools.

He said primary school teachers were expected to take Grade Seven learners through basic sciences which will require collaboration with nearby secondary schools to access laboratories and learning materials.

“I also want to urge parents to walk with the children as the first educators. We must work together in order to enable our children to acquire the right values,” he said.

Kipsang also said that the government wants all public boarding primary schools that are not in arid and semi-arid areas to adopt the day school policy from next year.

He said that already, 97 per cent of the primary schools are day schools and only three per cent offer boarding facilities.

The PS also said that this will see parents take up their responsibilities by staying with their children instead of taking them to boarding schools at an early age and that it is also in the spirit of cutting down the cost of education at the primary level.

Jamleck  Muturi, the chair of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said the commission will start the recruitment of 30,000 teachers in the next two weeks and ensure they report to schools next month.

He said schools have a shortfall of 160,000 teachers. “TSC will consider all the schools including those in remote areas,” he said, urging head teachers to spearhead the mass planting of trees in their schools.

Nzioka called on the government to come up with low-cost boarding schools in arid and semi-arid areas together with feeding programmes in primary schools to help head teachers realise 100 per cent retention of pupils.

“What this means is that the schools will be well-resourced and will be able to deliver the right education for our children and society,” he said.

Dr Kipsang assured the school heads that the government was working on the amount of capitation and school feeding programmes.

The school heads also want to be given vote heads to support activities in their schools like it is done with secondary school heads.

They said it has been costly to download assessment tests under the CBC system as the schools have no funds.

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