The National Treasury has released Sh 13 billion free secondary education funds ahead of the planned phased reopening of schools on Monday next week.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof George Magoha said the funds are expected to hit the school’s accounts by Thursday this week.
Free Primary Education (FPE) funds, he disclosed, have also been released and will be in the school’s accounts today.
“Our foot is on the pedal as far as disbursement of funds to schools is concerned. Therefore I want to urge parents to ensure that their children report to school,” said the CS.
Magoha defended the decision to reopen schools saying it was arrived at after thorough consultations between the government and all stakeholders in the sector.
Addressing concerns from parents over the short reopening notice, Magoha said the government had made it clear that the schools will reopen once the Covid-19 curve flattens.
“The confusion we normally witness when schools reopen in January should not arise. We had a rider in our communication that should the curve flatten, the government will consider reopening schools,” said the CS.
He added that the majority of parents were concerned about their children wasting the whole year at home adding that the government has responded by structuring a programme to recoup the lost time.
“I have held talks with the national parent’s association leadership and they have confirmed that the majority of parents welcome the decision. The pushback we are witnessing is not strange because you cannot satisfy everybody,” he said.
Seventy five per cent of secondary schools in the country, he said were day and have been fully catered for by the government and parents had no reason to worry about school fees.
“Primary education is also free and compulsory therefore the question of school fees should not arise,” he said.
The CS added that Secondary School Principals have been directed not to send home any form four students due to lack of school fees but show them love and empathy since they have been equally affected by Covid-19.
“The direction we have given is to have all students admitted then school fees shall be sorted later,” he said.
He asked the school’s management to judiciously use the food that was stored during the covid-19 shut down to ensure that learning kicks off smoothly.
The CS assured parents that measures have been put in place to guarantee the safety of students in school adding that every school has been attached to a health facility for quick referrals of any cases that may arise.
Social distancing at school, he said, was the biggest challenge but asked parents to ensure that they buy masks for their children which must be worn all the time while in school.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Education announced partial reopening of schools where Grade 4, Standard 8 and Form Four students are expected to report on October 12,2020.
Magoha said the ministry will observe how the programme runs before recalling the other groups at a later date.
By Chris Mahandara