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The National Treasury has released Sh31.3 billion to schools ahead of their opening

The National Treasury has released Sh31.3 billion to schools ahead of their opening

 

 

The National Treasury has released Sh31.3 billion to schools ahead of their opening next week.

This comes as some respite to schools, which were owed over Sh87 billion for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years before this disbursement.

Of the Sh31.3 billion Treasury released, Free Primary Education programme will receive Sh4.74 billion, while Sh7.6 billion will go towards the Junior Secondary School Capitation Grant.

School examination and invigilation fees will get about Sh2.8 billion, with the Free Senior Secondary Education programme getting the lion’s share of Sh16.2 billion according to a statement from the State House.

The disbursement comes barely a day after opposition leader Raila Odinga called on the government to release money owed to schools so that the lives of millions of children are not affected by the state’s failure to disburse funds on time.

The Orange Democratic Movement leader also called on Parents Teachers Associations, school management committees, religious leaders and civil society organisations to put pressure on the government to release the funds.

According to the opposition leader, the government owed schools about Sh18.1 billion at the end of the 2022/23 financial year and another Sh69.8 billion in the following financial year, bringing the total to Sh87.9 billion.

Instead of spending Sh22,244 per child in the 2022/23 financial year, the Kenya Kwanza administration spent Sh17,339 per child, a figure that was 4,905 less per child, Mr Odinga said.

The trend continued in the 2023/24 financial year where the government disbursed only Sh3,327 per child instead of the required Sh22,244, the ODM leader said.

“The failure to release the full capitation grant to all schools is affecting learning differently across the country. While schools with developed infrastructure and functional non-state support can survive the shortfall, poorer schools cannot,” Mr Odinga said.

While the government has eased the burden on schools with the disbursement of Sh31.3 billion, a huge burden remains on the shoulders of learners from poor families who depend on scholarships to pay school fees.

Currently, they risk being sent home when school resumes next week after the Treasury delayed disbursement of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

Not a single cent has been released to the 290 constituencies since last July, threatening the learning of thousands of vulnerable students.

As the fund is disbursed on a quarterly basis, the constituencies should have received the third tranche of the money by now. Members of Parliament said they have already issued bursary forms to their constituents, but have no money to give to the needy students.

The situation is so bad that lawmakers walked out of parliament last month to protest the delay in releasing over Sh53.3 billion NG-CDF cash.

By law, about 2.5 percent of total national revenue is supposed to be shared among constituencies.

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