, MERU, Kenya June 24 – The free secondary education President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised Kenyans will kick off without hitches thanks to the systematic plans put in place by the Jubilee Administration.
The new plan, a key plank of the Jubilee Party Manifesto to be unveiled on Monday, will be rolled out smoothly given the gradual increments in funding levels for the education sector in terms of capitation as well as allocations for school infrastructure.
In the current budget, President Kenyatta’s Administration has allocated Sh5 billion for, among other things, the expansion of school infrastructure to ensure secondary schools have the capacity to accommodate more students.
The provision of free secondary education is one of the priority targets President Kenyatta wants to accomplish in his second term.
Speaking today in Laare, Meru County, President Kenyatta said no parent will have to pay for secondary education beginning January next year.
“One of the reasons we are seeking re-election is to implement our plan to make secondary education completely free from next year to reduce the burden on parents to educate their children,” said the President.
The goal of the expansion of infrastructure is to ensure that the Jubilee Government’s plan to effect 100 percent transition from primary to secondary schools is accomplished without a hitch.
The change over to the free secondary education system will also be easy to accomplish for the Jubilee Government since it has gradually increased capitation fees (the amount of money government pays for each student to schools) over the years.
The journey to achieve the Free Secondary Education started under the Jubilee Administration shortly after President Kenyatta came into power.
While some form of free secondary education, specifically free day secondary education, was started earlier, the Jubilee Administration made the policy more effective by increasing capitation fees paid to schools, by a margin of more than 33 percent by mid last year.
With about 2.2 million students in secondary school in 2016, the Government allocated Sh32.7 billion to cater for free secondary education up from Sh28 billion it paid out for the same purpose the previous year.
The Government has been paying almost Sh13, 000 as capitation for every student in secondary school, enough to cater for the fees of those in day schools. The State pays almost triple that amount for those students in special schools.
The increased funding for free secondary education has seen transition rates jump from 60 percent in 2008 to 86.7 percent in 2015.
In June last year, President Kenyatta announced that the Government was almost achieving the goal of making secondary school education almost free of charge.
Another policy move that has smoothed the way for free schooling is the waiver of examination fees, another hurdle that made education a big burden for students from poor backgrounds.
The Jubilee Administration will draw from its experience in offering free services that were previously costing Kenyans a lot of hard earned money.
It has offered free maternal health services at the cost of billions of shillings. In the 2015/2016 financial year, Sh4.3 billion was allocated to support counties to offer maternity services of free.
President Kenyatta has also scrapped charges for government services including land searches.
The increased subsidies and waiver of charges Kenyans traditionally paid for required readjustments of Government financing which have been achieved successfully, equipping the Jubilee Administration with the experience to make adjustments needed to cater for full free secondary education.
The introduction of full free secondary education comes at a time the Jubilee Administration has also enacted reforms in the administration of exams, rooting out corruption and cheating.
The national exams administered last year have been hailed as one of the most transparent and cheating-free.