The Ministry of Education has given stern warning to school Principals of all public secondary schools on the use of government capitation to schools even as the Ministry reduced school fees for boarding schools.

Basic and Early Learning Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Jwan has warned the school heads with schools which receives the Government of Kenya (GOK) subsidy for students above the stipulated enrollment that they will be charged as per the law.

“Schools which receive GOK subsidy for students above the enrollment will be penalized and the Principal surcharged for loss of public resources,” stated Dr. Jwan in the guidelines issued to all County Directors of Education, on implementation of Free Day Secondary Schools for the year 2021-2022 dated June 16, 2021.

According to Public Finance Management Act, 2012 a public officer commits an offence if that officer takes possession of public funds or assets without lawful authority, misappropriates public funds or assets, conceals information on public finances to obtain a financial benefit either for the officer or another person; or engages in a corrupt act; which includes soliciting or receiving an inducement.

The act states that a person who is found guilty of committing an offence that person is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding 1 o million shillings, or to both. Dr. Jwan has also maintained that any changes in information on the school’s bank accounts will only be effected at the Ministry of Education Headquarters at Jogoo House.

“Requests for change have to be forwarded by the Sub County Director of Education and sent to the Director Secondary Education,” added Dr. Jwan in the circular.

In addition, no schools will enter into financial contracts like hire purchase and bank loans without the express written approval of the Cabinet Secretary.

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“Every Principal shall be responsible for application and utilization of funds as the Accounting Officer of the school,” stated Dr. Jwan.

Infrastructure Improvement

In the 2021 school academic calendar which is starting July 26, 2021, the government through the Ministry of Education has allocated a total of Sh. 5, 000 per student from the GOK subsidy as Maintenance and Improvement Fund (MIF).

For boarding schools, the government has approved additional Sh 2, 000 to be paid by parents as part of their contribution. The MIF is only used for immovable assets and other form of infrastructure in the school that may require upgrading which in particular includes construction and repair of classrooms, laboratories, sanitation facilities, dormitories and dining halls, and procurement of chairs, desks and laboratory stools.

The government’s 100 per cent transition programme has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of students joining secondary schools. The School Principals have been decried that there has been no increase in funding, leading to secondary schools using other means to cope with the bulging student population.

In the recent form one selection of 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education {KCPE) in June 15, 2021 who are expected to join Form One on August 2, 2021 a total of 36, 254 candidates will join national schools; who include 17,406 girls and 18,848 boys. Some 201,067 learners have been posted to extra-county schools, 95,646 being girls and 105,431 boys, while 213,591 candidates will attend county schools; 115,325 girls and 98,256 boys, and 718,516 are set to join sub-county schools-357,029 girls and 361,487 boys. Out of the 1,179,192 candidates who sat the exam, 1,171,265 will join public secondary schools.

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In the just read budget, the Ministry got Sh202 billion allocation to support its various programmes, which include Sh4.2 billion for primary and secondary schools’ infrastructure development.

New Reduced Fee

However, the Ministry has reduced the amount of school fees that parents whose children are in boarding secondary schools should pay for the year 2021-2022 effective July 26, 2021.

The Ministry noted that the new school calendar only has 30 weeks instead of the 39 weeks in the old calendar, commencing on July 26, 2021 to March 4, 2022. The GOK will provide a subsidy for each learner in a boarding school that is equal to the subsidy for each leaner in a day school which is Sh 22, 244.

This will include tuition (teaching learning materials and exam) which the government located Sh 4, 144; Medical or insurance (Sh 2, 000), activity (Sh 1, 500), and Strengthening of Mathematics and Science in Secondary Education (SMASSE) located Sh 200.

Other vote heads which includes local travel and transport, electricity and personnel emolument is allocated Sh 9, 400; and Maintenance and improvement (Sh 5, 000). Parents who have their children in boarding schools will be required to pay boarding fees applicable to different categories of schools and location as approved by the Ministry of Education.

The total GOK subsidy of Sh 53, 807 per leaner per year includes Sh 19, 053 per leaner for boarding equipment and stores and a top up grant of Sh 12, 510 per leaner to cater for assistive devices and any additional personnel needed.

“All schools’ management are expected to ensure prudence in the use of school funds and to adhere to the laid down financial regulations as stipulated in the reviewed Handbook on Financial Management for Public Secondary Schools, Teacher Training Colleges and Technical and Vocational Colleges in Kenya,” warned Dr. Jwan.

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The Ministry has also instructed all School Principals to ensure that all eligible learners are fully registered and captured on the NEMIS platform since funds will be disbursed using the data eligible learners are fully registered and captured on the NEMIS platform since funds will be disbursed using the data available in the platform.

“Transfer of students should be avoided in the course of the academic year and may only be sanctioned by the Director General under special circumstances,” advised Dr. Jwan.

No Fee Arrears

The Ministry has maintained that Parents should continue bearing the cost of uniform for their children, boarding related costs as reflected in the boarding school fee structure, lunch for the day scholars, and clear their fees balances for continuing students prior January 2021.

Early June this year, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha gave principals and head teachers an express go-ahead to send home learners with school fees balances following complaints by the administrators that schools are broke and unable to run effectively.

Prof Magoha, who always protects learners from being sent home for not having paid school fees, blamed parents for failing to meet their obligations.

“A majority of the parents who are not paying fees can afford to pay fees. My exemption is that the Head teachers and Principals will double-check to ensure that the child they are sending home is not from a very poor family or a family that has lost a job,” said Prof. Magoha.

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