• Ministry takes the lion's share of the budget, making it hard for the CS to get support for more funding.
• He warns principals, however, against asking for money for unnecessary things from parents, or forcing them to contribute.
Parents may soon be required to partly fund the education of their children if a proposal by Education CS George Magoha is adopted.
Magoha has indicated they might be forced to turn to parents to help in funding some of the government’s education programmes including the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum.
The CS on Tuesday revealed that there are attempts by some of his Cabinet colleagues to reduce the ministry’s budgetary allocation.
The ministry takes the lion’s share of budgetary allocation much to the chagrin of his colleagues, making it tough to get support for more funds, he said.
“The Cabinet has 22 ministers and I have 35 per cent of the budget. Who do you think is going to support me in that Cabinet?” Magoha asked.
“Instead, they want to claw some of the money away. That is the shock that I got."
This, he said, has led him to start thinking outside the box and look for other solutions.
“There is a group of Kenyan middle-class who will not mind contributing to better their schools. Why is the government saying there should be a blanket ban (on parents’ contribution)?” the CS asked.
He said he will also explain the same to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He was officially opening the 44th Kenya Secondary School Heads Association at the Kenya School of Revenue Administration in Mombasa.
“Can the Parent Teacher Associations be empowered to agree to the level that they can (contribute) as long as the poor indigent child is not forced to pay?” he asked.
He said the one or two erratic parents who are rich but do not want to pay should also not be forced to.
“But I believe then you can capture about 70 per cent of willing parents. This will help us to improve most of the things that we are talking about."
In 2013, retired President Mwai Kibaki’s regime introduced the Free Primary Education.
In 2008, President Uhuru’s administration introduced the Free Day Secondary Education programme scrapping the Sh9,374 school fees required from each student in public secondary schools per year.
The government committed to paying Sh22,224 for each learner in public secondary school for tuition, which was effected in January 2008.
Parents were to buy uniforms and pay for lunch for day scholars.
For boarding schools, students were to get the same capitation for tuition but had to pay Sh53,554 a year for national and county schools.
Extra county schools required Sh40,535 per year.
Principals have since been calling for increased capitation as the subsidy is not enough.
Earlier, Kessha chairman Indimuli Kahi said principals need teachers in schools and challenged the Teachers Service Commission to lobby for funds to hire more teachers.
He said due to the shortage of teachers, schools have been forced to dig deep into their own pockets to hire teachers at an extra annual cost of Sh1.4 million each.
This, he said, eats into the funds that are supposed to go into acquiring learning materials and programmes.
“We want teachers in class at no cost to us,” he said.
He said the teachers’ union does not want him to call for more teachers.
“One time I was told ‘Mr Indimuli, take care of the welfare of principals. Leave alone the employment of teachers’. Welfare number one of principals is the availability of teachers in class,” Kahi told Knut.
Magoha said success must be achieved and should not be hindered by lack of budgetary allocation.
He said the CBC, for example, has been allocated only Sh1.2 billion yet it will need infrastructure whose cost is more than that.
“Why can’t we ask the parents who can afford to chip in?"
He, however, cautioned principals against asking for money for unnecessary things.
The CS said there is money available for hiring of teacher interns as requested by the principals to try and address the shortage.
“I get orders from only one person and one of the orders is that we make sure there is money for teacher interns."
The money will be made available to all schools to empower them to employ interns because that has been captured in this year’s budget, he said.
Kahi had complained that funding of co-curricular activities is not enough and schools are forced to chip in.
“This money is sent as an AIE (Authority to Incur Expenditure) through county treasuries. The people there don’t know anything about schools,” Kahi said.
He wants all the money sent directly to schools.
“Let me be charged with the responsibility to disperse to the various levels because I can stand accountable."
Edited by R.Wamochie