Auditor-General: Inadequate Funding Has Led To Dilapidated infrastructure in Public primary schools
A report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has revealed that Public primary schools are grappling with dilapidated infrastructure and facilities.
The performance report on expansion and improvement of infrastructure in public primary schools for the period ending November 2021 has revealed that infrastructure development in learning institutions is not among the priorities of the Education Ministry.
According to the report, budgetary allocation for expansion, improvement and maintenance for public primary schools has not been sufficient.
The report showed an analysis of data obtained from the ministry revealed that in 10 years (2010-11 to 2019-20) only 2,265 or 10 per cent of the about 22,000 public primary schools were funded from the School Infrastructure Improvement Grant.
“From the analysis, each school received Sh648,543 on average. Further review of schools’ request for funding and interviews with school heads revealed that this amount may only be enough to complete one standard classroom,” the report added.
School infrastructure includes physical facilities and amenities such as water and electricity that facilitate learning.
The National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2013-2018 defines school infrastructure as classrooms, sanitary environmental facilities, administration blocks, dormitories, laboratories, dining halls, libraries, workshops and science rooms.
The report added that Free Primary Education capitation for repair and maintenance stood at Sh106 per student per annum at the time of audit.
It said the capitation is meant to cater for maintenance of all facilities in schools, sanitary facilities, administration offices and furniture.
Gathungu further noted that the Basic Education Act, 2013 and Regulation 2015 only specify the class size in terms of dimensions and the number of pupils per building as well as the number who can use a toilet.
“There is no proper guidance on the materials to be used and maintenance standards for facilities in a school. This, therefore, leaves room for any type of structure to be used as classroom, toilet and other facilities,” it added.
The audit observed that different procedures were used for application and allocation of school infrastructure improvement grants.
While some schools wrote letters directly to the ministry, others submitted comprehensive project proposals with bills of quantities attached.
The report further said the Ministry of Education has not developed and implemented a sustainable long-term policy for expansion, improvement and maintenance of infrastructure in public primary schools.
It said the ministry acknowledges inadequacies in infrastructure in terms of crowded classrooms and state of disrepair.
“Interviews with ministry officials and school heads revealed that there was no systematic way of identifying needs of primary schools,” the report said.
“Individual schools send their infrastructure needs any time of the year depending on the urgency of their need and if requested to do so.”
Gathungu noted that National Government Constituency Development Fund and other well-wishers have been funding school infrastructure.
“However, they have the discretion to choose the schools to fund, which may not necessarily be the most deserving institution in the area,” she said.
The report recommended that the ministry carries out a comprehensive status in primary schools to enable the government to develop a long-term plan for infrastructure development.
“The ministry should develop a tool for identifying and reporting schools’ infrastructure. This will also help in targeting of resources to the most needy schools and strengthen monitoring and evaluation,” it added.
It also said the ministry should give guidance on standard of infrastructure beyond classroom dimensions and the number of students to push schools’ boards of management to strive to keep up with these qualities.
The report further said the ministry should engage NG-CDF and well-wishers in a structured manner to ensure the most-needy schools are funded.