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A Sh22.2 billion budget shortfall is threatening the successful implementation of Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE), leaving nearly one million learners without funding in the next financial year.

The shortfall comes despite a Sh964 million increase in the capitation grant for the programme, which funds all learners in public secondary schools.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Education Committee yesterday, Principal Secretary for Basic Education Belio Kipsang said the current enrolment of 3,938,109 learners at a rate of Sh22,244 per learner in secondary schools gives a total requirement of Sh87.6 billion. However, the proposed allocation in the 2023-24 budget for FDSE is Sh65.4 billion.

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“This leaves 998,620 learners outside the FDSE programme. We need an additional Sh22.213 billion to fully cover these learners. Even though we say we are funding at Sh22,244 per learner, we’re not telling the full story,” said Dr Kipsang.

His revelation comes at a time when secondary school principals have been complaining about delayed payment of capitation grants, which, they say, has made running schools difficult.

The State Department of Basic Education has been allocated Sh135.48 billion, comprising Sh15.773 billion for recurrent expenditure and Sh19.707 billion for development. The total allocation represents a net increase of Sh5.018 billion from Sh130.462 billion.

Dr Kipsang told MPs that the budget for Free Primary Education (FPE) has been maintained at Sh12.4 billion even with seven classes in primary school, which will be further reduced to six next year as the introduction of Junior Secondary School (JSS) takes root.

This, he explained, was to increase the per capita allocation for learners in primary schools, which has remained at Sh1,420 since the programme was introduced in 2003.

Dr Kipsang said the allocation for JSS was inadequate as the new segment will have two grades (Seven and Eight). It has a funding gap of Sh17.63 billion. The requirement for JSS is Sh33 billion but only Sh15.5 billion has been allocated.

Grade Eight will accommodate 1,074,709 learners promoted from Grade Seven. At a per pupil rate of Sh15,042, the total requirement is Sh16.166 billion. The Ministry of Education tops up the capitation grant for learners with special needs at the rate of Sh35,730. There are 15,686 learners with special needs in Grade Seven, bringing the requirement to Sh565.9 million.

Over 1.3 million more learners will join JSS in January. They will require a capital of Sh15.776 billion to cater for Grades One and Two. The ministry also intends to spend Sh3.38 billion to improve infrastructure in JSS.

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