NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 3 – Public secondary schools are set to benefit from Sh16 billion funding beginning next year as government works to improve existing infrastructure in line with a 100 per cent transition policy for free and compulsory basic education.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said Monday the new funding will go a long way in ensuring all the 1,032,334 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates the ministry is placing in secondary schools have the requisite resources to facilitate learning.
“Beginning January, 2019, the ministry has re-adjusted FDSE vote heads to address infrastructure improvement needs. Principals will therefore adjust their budgets accordingly to provide for infrastructure improvement on this specific vote head,” she said when she launched the selection exercise for students joining secondary schools next year.
The CS warned school heads against imposing illegal fees that would make education inaccessible to poor and needy students.
All students in public school will be funded to the tune of Sh22,244 per annum with parents and guardians will students in boarding schools required to top up fees for boarding facilities.
“All schools must also provide accurate and up to date enrolment data and register all bank accounts operated by the schools with the ministry. I want to sound a clear warning to Principals to desist from introducing any illegal fees and levies,” CS Mohamed directed.
“If allowed to take root, illegal levies will frustrate the attainment of 100 per cent transition and deny learners the right to education,” she noted.
She vowed to lead ministry officials in monitoring the implementation of government-sanctioned free structures warning school managers found to be flouting the rules of dire consequences.
“I will lead senior ministry officials on nationwide monitoring exercise to ensure that fee guidelines are strictly adhered to. Charging illegal levies will be treated as a crime of corruption and attendant criminal measures taken against the culprits,” the CS undertook.
She promised to deal decisively with cases of lethargy among education officials tasked with monitoring the implementation of fee guidelines in public schools.
During the Monday event, the Ministry of Education assured all 12,222 KCPE candidates who scored 400 marks and above will secure a place in national schools.
The over 12,000 students are among 31,337 selected to join national schools compared to 29,712 admissions in 2017.
According to the team coordinating the selection, there are 31,392 available slots in national schools.
Another 128,838 students will be placed in extra-county schools, 148,215 in county schools, and 722,318 in sub-county schools.
A total of 1,626 students will be placed in Special Need Education institutions.
Rawlings Odhiambo and Olive Mwea, the two candidates who ranked top in this year’s KCPE with 453 marks each are set to join Alliance High School and Kenya High School respectively.
Admission letters national, extra-county, and county schools are available on the ministry website – www.education.go.ke – from where students and guardians will be required to download them before taking them to respective schools for authentication.
Alternatively, candidates can send their index numbers to a Short Message Service code 20042 to know schools they have been place in.
While admission letters for national, extra-county, and county schools were Monday expected to be accessible in the web portal, placements for sub-county schools will be made available on Thursday and Friday.
All students will be required to report to respective schools from January 7 and not later that January 11.
In addition to the 1,032,334 places available in public secondary schools, the education ministry has set aside 12,045 places for refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps.
There are also 356 centres to cater for adult learners (aged 18 and above) with a total capacity of 11,500.
Candidates who wrote the KCPE examinations in correctional facilities will utilize adult learning centres while absentee candidates will have an opportunity to re-sit exams net year.
Speaking during the launch of the school selection, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the agency was considering all available options bridge the staffing gap occasioned by the shortage of teachers.
She indicated that TSC was considering the possibility of having selective subject teachers among neighbouring schools with fewer students shared to ensure all students have access to teachers.
“I urge all teachers to do all they can and be innovative so that we don’t compromise the standards of teaching and learning,” she said.
According to Macharia, the country is facing a shortage of 87,737 teachers, with the deficit in secondary schools projected at over fifty thousand.
“Secondary schools at 57,380 account for the highest share of the shortage we face,” she said.
Macharia said TSC is targeting to recruit over twelve thousand teachers annually in the next four years at a cost of 8.3 billion.
Under the current year, 8,700 teachers have been enlisted.
“We made a proposal to recruit 12,626 teachers annually for the next four years. Although the funding we received was lower than what we required, the teachers recruited have already been posted to their stations,” she indicated.