Struggling Schools Face Early Closure Despite Capitation Release
School leaders and administrators face a rough path ahead, with public schools in Kenya suffering similar financial issues as public universities.
The Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) Chairperson, Kahi Indimuli, foresee a situation in which principals may be hauled to court by non-teaching employees due to salary delays and non-remittance of statutory deductions.
This problem is aggravated by the fact that schools owe considerable sums of money to suppliers in unpaid invoices, despite pledges by Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang that cash would be placed into school accounts by September 20.
The government owes Sh29 billion to public schools, but it has received Sh16.2 billion in capitation money from the National Treasury to be distributed to public primary, junior, and senior secondary schools. Dr. Kipsang promised that the money would be put into school accounts by September 20.
The delay in providing these monies has put school administrators under pressure as they look for alternative ways to support their institutions. There are fears that the financial shortfall would jeopardize preparations for future national exams such as the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Several schools have not paid non-teaching staff salaries for more than four months, raising questions about the institutions’ capacity to satisfy their financial obligations.
In addition to salary delays, many schools incur significant penalties for failing to remit mandatory deductions such as NSSF and NHIF on time.
Schools that rely primarily on government funding, particularly sub-county schools, are particularly heavily struck by these financial difficulties.
The delay in disbursing cash has an impact on school operations, such as acquiring educational materials, paying salaries, and settling utility bills.
School administrators and principals blame the Treasury and the Ministry of Education for their financial troubles and accuse these agencies of failing to act quickly.
Some principals are even taking out bank loans to keep their schools open while they wait for government cash.
Over the last two years, the government has not followed the 50:30:20 financing formula, instead issuing monies quarterly, complicating school finances even further.
To solve these difficulties and ensure the seamless operation of Kenya’s public schools, education leaders are pushing for clear communication and timely transfer of funds.