Heads warn of crisis in primary schools over delays to release free education funds

Primary school head teachers have warned of a financial crisis ahead of the reopening of schools Monday after the strike.

The teachers unions called off the month-long strike and ordered members to go back to class.

The heads said the fact that the national examinations were around the corner would worsen the situation.

So dire is the situation, they said, that guards in some schools left because they had not been paid for close to three months.

Mr Shem Ndolo, the Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association chairman, said the government had not only failed to remit the Free Primary Education (FPE) funds that it had retained for the second term, but it had also failed to release this term’s allocation.

He said that the government had retained 9 per cent of last term’s 30 per cent allocation.

The funds are released in tranches of 50 per cent for the first term, 30 per cent the second and 20 per cent for third term.

Their secondary school counterparts, under the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha), have also complained over the delay to send the free education funds.

Kessha Chairman John Awiti last week warned that some support staff could quit due to lack of funds.

“The most affected are day schools which rely on the money. School heads are helpless at the moment as staff are demanding salaries,” said Mr Awiti on Tuesday.

The Treasury had in this year’s budget allocated Sh14.1 billion for free primary education and Sh32.7 billion for free day secondary education. A total of Sh420 million was allocated to special schools.

Mr Ndolo on Sunday said primary schools were operating at the mercy of support staff who had not been paid.

“We need the funds more than ever before. The exams are approaching and we can no longer afford not to be paying our bills now,” said Mr Ndolo.