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Government urged to change current capitation system

The Government has been advised to reinstate the pre-Covid 19 capitation system for schools to address the financial woes dogging learning institutions.

Nyeri Kenya Secondary Schools Head Association (Kessha) chairman Cyrus Wachira argues that the former 50-30-20 percent financing model where schools used to get the bulk of their capitation during the first term ensured there was uninterrupted learning throughout the year.

Wachira says, that even with the capitation money which was disbursed to schools early this month, school principals are at a crossroads since this amount is insufficient to cater to the most pressing needs.

Early this month the Government released some Sh 31.34 billion as capitation ahead of schools’ reopening on January 8.

Out of this money, Sh 4.74 billion was to be allocated to the State Department for Basic Education to facilitate the provision of free Primary Education for Term 1.

Additionally, the State Department was to give Sh 7.6 billion as capitation for Junior Secondary Schools.

“The government was gracious enough that at the time of opening schools for this term, they were able to release the capitation. Of course, there was an appeal we had made as principals of schools that capitation be taken back to pre-Covid 19 days where we had 50-30-20 disbursement where 50 percent of the capitation came in Term 1,30 percent in Term 2 and 20 percent in Term 3. Unfortunately, what we received was about 25 percent and that may not be sufficient to even clear the pending bills for last year,” he has told KNA.

“If you are keen enough to observe, like here in Nyeri we have several schools that have been taken to the Small Claims Court because of pending bills. But I can confirm to you that it is not the principal who does not want to pay these bills. The principals do not have the money. The government has released the money but the money released is not sufficient to clear these bills,” he added.

The official has however urged aggrieved suppliers to refrain from dragging schools to court but rather find ways and means of settling such matters through alternative mechanisms.

He said the current credit crunch facing secondary schools (the majority of which are in the sub-county and day secondary schools’ category) will soon be sorted out and therefore the need to retain cordial relationship between the affected schools and the suppliers.

“The same schools that have maintained you(suppliers) are the same schools that have challenges today. Therefore, if you can have an amicable solution without going to court, it is going to help you sustain the relationship with those schools beyond these challenges,” he appealed.

In Nyeri, some of the schools that are facing cases in court over pending bills owed to suppliers include Kangonye Secondary School, Narumoru Girls High School, Iria-ini Girls Secondary School, and Komothai Girls Technical High School.

According to the Kenya Booksellers and Stationeries Association (KBSSA), schools owe the association a whopping Sh 2 billion in unpaid bills.

Wachira has also condemned the emerging culture of parents attacking teachers and chasing them out of schools for allegedly producing poor marks during last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams terming the trend a bad precedent for the country.

The official has warned that teachers may soon feel threatened while working in such abusive institutions and has urged the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission to come up with stringent measures and policies to safeguard the dignity and security of tutors across the country.

“Performance is a journey that starts in Form 1. So, you cannot wake up one morning and realize the school is not performing. Patients die in hospitals but we have never seen families of the deceased storming such facilities to attack the medics while blaming them for the death of their loved ones. Why do they(parents)see teaching as the only profession where it narrows down to one person that is the school principal?” Posed the Kessha official.

Several schools that performed dismally in last year’s KCSE exams have borne the brunt of irate parents who have stormed into the premises and thrown out the tutors accusing them of lethargy and incompetence.

Some of the schools that have been affected include St Gabriel Isongo Secondary School (Kakamega), Mafuta Secondary School (Uasin Gishu County).

Education Cabinet Secretary, Dr Ezekiel Machogu has already warned of action against parents or communities who will be found to have frog-marched school heads over the poor performance of their children in national exams.

By Samuel Maina and Wangari Mwangi

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