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State told to release free learning funds early

By Kamundia Muriithi.

A teacher’s union and principals of secondary schools have asked the Ministry of Education to release funds for Free Secondary Education (FSE) early enough to facilitate its smooth rollout.
The educationists while lauding the Government for the ambitious programme that is set to increase enrolment and retention in schools said FSE should be approached with a lot of soberness to minimise the bottlenecks that might arise.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Embu branch Executive Secretary, Josphat Kathumi called for timely disbursement of money to schools to avoid delays.
He said in the current subsidisation programme where the Government provides capitation of about Sh12, 870 per student faces hitches in supplies to schools due to delayed disbursements.
“Such issues can be sorted out through consultations with other stakeholders such as Knut and principal’s associations. FSE is indeed a good idea that will help many bright and needy students who couldn’t afford the fee charged in secondary schools. A modality for timely release of the funds is required,” he said.
The Government has already announced it has allocated Sh25 billion for FSE that is expected to cost about Sh60 billion annually and provide free education for day scholars.
Kathumi also called for employment of more teachers to bridge the shortage, which he noted stands at about 40,000 teachers, in anticipation for increased enrolment.
Speaking separately, principals who requested anonymity raised queries on how they would meet development and school infrastructure expenses in the FSE.
A principal who expressed support for the programme said the repayment of loan for their school bus may be affected since new students used to pay Sh5, 000 but with FSE, parents might object to it.
Under the new programme, from January day scholars will not pay fee while National and extra-county schools will charge Sh53, 553 and Sh40, 535 respectively.
The Government will pay Sh22, 244 per year for each student, up from the current Sh12, 870.

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