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Free day secondary education to begin in January

by 21/09/2017 17:59:00 0 comments 1 Views
By OUMA WANZALA
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The government on Thursday honoured its election pledge to provide complete free day secondary education starting January after it allocated Sh25 billion for the programme.

A Cabinet meeting on supplementary budget chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta resolved that requisite infrastructure will be provided through government initiative and will lead to 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary school.

After the meeting, a statement released by State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said all this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam candidates will join secondary school.

“In 2018, the Form One intake will cater for 1,003,552 learners sitting their KCPE this year. Of these, 903,200 will join public schools, while 100,322 will join private ones,” said Mr Esipisu in the statement.

He went on: “The budget allocation now made will cater for an anticipated influx of learners into public schools at the dawn of free day secondary education.”

However, the statement did not indicate how boarding schools will benefit from the programme.

TRANSITION

This year in January, a total of  790,680 out of 942,021 candidates who sat last year’s KCPE exam joined secondary schools. Of these 72,744 joined private schools, with the transition at 83.93 per cent.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has also promised to provide free education to all learners at all levels should he be elected.

At the moment, the government pays a subsidy of Sh12,870, with parents paying Sh53,554 for students in boarding schools, while for those in day schools, a parent pays  Sh9,370 with the government paying Sh12,870.

Parents with children in special needs schools pay Sh37,210 while the government pays Sh32,600. This year, the government has allocated Sh32 billion for secondary schools, while primary schools were given Sh14 billion.

The money was to finance construction of facilities such as classrooms and laboratories,  to create capacity in secondary schools to absorb all the candidates.

DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

With the government known to delay release of capitation funds, Kenyans will be waiting to see the implementation of the programme.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli praised the move, saying it will ensure  all children are in school.

However, he said the government should explain how ongoing infrastructural development projects will be concluded.

Yesterday, teachers’ unions welcomed the proposal but demanded that half of the money be channelled to the Teachers Service Commission so that it can be used to hire teachers.

Knut and Kuppet say the country is facing a shortage of about 90,000 teachers.

Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba said the allocation should include all other school emoluments so that the school becomes a place to go learn and go back home without any hidden charges.

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