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2011 KCSE MOCK PAPERS

Free Primary Education
Free Secondary Education
Const. Bursary Funds (CBF)
Const. Dev. Funds (CDF)
 

 

Constituency Bursary Funds

Background

A Secondary School Education Bursary Fund (SEBF) was established in 1993/ 4 through a Presidential pronouncement. Its aim was to cushion the country’s poor and vulnerable families against the high and increasing cost of secondary education and hopefully reduce inequalities that are brought about and maintained by unequal access to education opportunities. It also aimed at increasing enrolment in (and completion of) secondary schools. The scheme was also designed to cushion households from the rising impacts of poverty, an increasingly unstable economy and devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Overall, the scheme was designed to enable needy students to access education opportunities, which they would otherwise not manage without assistance. The fund targeted orphans and the girl-child as well as those from poor households and urban slums with good results. Applications were sent through head teachers. Allocation to the SEBF was not based on a fixed share of the national budget. Instead it depended on the Ministry of Education’s annual provisions, the number of students enrolled in secondary schools within each constituency, national secondary school enrolment as well as poverty indices.

The SEBF was converted into the Constituency Bursary Fund, to be administered by Constituency Bursary Committees from 2003/4. The objective of channeling bursary funds through constituencies each financial year is to ensure that all bright and needy students are identified and assisted through a process that involves local leaders. The allocation to each constituency is based on the secondary school enrolment and the Poverty Index of each constituency in relation to the overall national secondary school enrolment and poverty situation in the country. For instance, the national enrolment for 2004 was put at 786,129 students while the poverty index shows that among these 65%, or 471,674 students were poor and in need of assistance.

Affirmative action is built into the allocation mechanism to ensure that a minimum of Kshs. 500,000 is allocated to constituencies in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASAL). The minimum annual allocation per beneficiary by school category is as follows: Kshs. 8,000 for da: )schools, Kshs. 10,000 for boarding schools; and Kshs. 15,000 for national schools.
 

Objectives of the CBF

(i) To increase access to secondary schools by all qualifying needy students
(ii) To increase the level of retention (to ensure students remain in school)
(iii) To promote transition (from one level to another) and completion rates
(iv) To reduce disparities and inequality in the provision of secondary school education

Bursary Allocation to Constituencies

The amount allocated to each constituency is based on the following:
• The number of students from the constituency
• The national secondary schools’ enrolment
• The district poverty indices
• The national poverty index
The formula used to allocate bursaries to constituencies is:
Constituency BursaryAmount Allocated x Constituency Enrolment x District Poverty
Index

National Enrolment National Poverty

Target groups

(i) Children from poor households
(ii) Children from arid and semiarid lands/areas
(iii) Children affected by the MW/AIDS pandemic
(iv) Orphans with single or no parent
(v) Girl child (5/o is set aside for girls) in the second tranche
(vi) Children with special needs
(vii) Other children in difficult circumstances (these may include children with disabilities or various medical conditions)

Composition of the CUC

In order for a constituency to qualify for allocation of bursary funds, it is mandatory that it forms a Constituency Bursary Committee (CBC). The initial meeting to constitute the Constituency Bursary Committees (CBCs) shall be convened by the District Education Officers (DEO) or for Nairobi Province, the Provincial Director of Education (PDE), on the basis of advice from the District Education Board and the Provincial Education Board (for Nairobi Province).

The nominated Constituency Bursary Committee members shall receive appointment letters signed by the PDE/DEO on behalf of the Ministry of Education with clear Terms of Reference (TORS).
 

The Constituency Bursary Committee shall have a maximum of sixteen (16) members, at least a third (S!) of whom must be women. The committee shall be as follows:-

• Area Member of Parliament (Patron)
• The Area Education Officer (Secretary)
• Three (3) Representatives of religious organizations
• Two (2) Chairpersons of PTA’s of two secondary schools
• One (1) Chairperson of Board of Governors
• One (1) Councillor
• One (1) District Officer (DO)
• One (1) representative of an Education Based NGO or CBO
• One (I) Local KNUT representative
• Three (3) Co-opted members to include two (2) head teachers, one of whom must be from a girls’ secondary school

The DEO presides over the election of CBC Chairpersons and Treasurers. In Nairobi, the PDE appoints the secretary to the committee from Ms/her office.
The chairpersons to the CBCs should be professionals who are well versed in education matters, with a minimum of Form Four level of education. Tho treasurer to the CBCs, where possible, should have knowledge of accounting procedures/ financial management. The chairpersons or treasures to CBCs must be elected from amongst members who do NOT hold elective political office(s).

Regulations and guidelines

Each constituency is required to open a Constituency Bursary Account. The details of this account are submitted to the Ministry’s headquarters, with copies made available to the District Education Board. The ministry pays the amount allocated to each constituency into the account paving way for CBCs to meet and allocate bursary to successful applicants. The Ministry’s guideline circular of May 2005 allowed the Committees to spend Kshs. 25,000 on administration but not as sitting allowance for members in each tranche, totalling Kshs. 50,000. Bursary funds are given to constituencies in two instalments. Initially, a first installment of Kshs. I million is allocated to ALL 210 constituencies. The second allocation varies from constituency to constituency and is calculated based on the following factors:

1. The number of students enrolled for secondary school education in a constituency as compared to the total national enrolment.

2. The number arrived at f I. above] is then calculated against the
poverty index .of a particular constituency. (The percentage of the -. poverty index of each constituency against the national poverty index.

3. Of each second allocation for each constituency, 5% is set aside for the girl child as an affirmative action measure.

This mode of allocation takes care of variances in each constituency and ensures equitable distribution of resources. Disbursement of all funds at the constituency level should be completed by the end of May every year, to facilitate accounting for funds before the end of the government’s financial year. The returns for each instalment, however, are made within two months after the date of receiving the money at the constituency level. Bursary cheques are sent directly to schools.

Signatories

The District Education Officer is a mandatory signatory to all bursary accounts.In his/ her absence, the deputy becomes the mandatory signatory with a written authority of the DEO who validates his/her signature. Two other signatories are approved by the CBC and submitted to the Ministry and the DEC’s office. The DEO is the accounting officer. Failure to account for the funds or existence of improprieties in the accounting leads to withholding of subsequent allocations. The bursary disbursement should be closely monitored and audited by the ministry's Internal Audit Department.

Application procedure

Parents/students obtain bursary application forms from the division education offices. For one to obtain a bursary form, one should be a resident of the given area. No eligible student/parent should be denied the forms. The forms are issued free of charge to all those who make a request. The details required in the form include the applying student’s personal details, verification of primary school details by one’s former primary head teacher, general family information and information about family financial status. The filled information has to be certified as correct by the applicant, the applicant’s parent/guardians, the school, and the chief, assistant chief or a religious leader.

Bursary application appraisal process

Those who wish to benefit from the bursary are supposed to pick application forms from the nearest education office, the D.C’s or the Chief’s office. Forms provide information on how they should be filled. The tilled application forms are returned to the divisional education offices and the AEO forwards them to the CBC The CBC has the .mandate to identify those who qualify for assistance. The CBC members are requited to place the applicants in: different categories with the aim of allocating them bursaries according to their levels of need. (This guideline is premised on the idea that the committee members are area local residents and thus can objectively identify needy students based on accurate information).

Disbursement of bursaries

The list of identified beneficiaries and the minutes of the CBC, duly signed by the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer are then forwarded to the DEO. He/she prepares and signs the cheques within one week and returns them to the AEO’s office where the other two signatories append their signatures before disbursing the cheques to schools. It is the responsibility of the CBC to verify and ensure that all the cheques are dispatched to schools. The names of beneficiaries and amounts given are supposed to be displayed on the notice boards of schools, AEO’s, DEO’s, and constituency offices.

How CBCs award bursaries

There are four categories that are looked - at:

(i) Family status, that is; whether one is a total orphan, partial orphan, from a single parent family or “needy” parents

(ii) Affirmative action/special circumstances, that is, whether one is a girl child, a slum dweller, otis from a marginahzed or special needs group such as Persons Living With Disabilities

(iii) Discipline, that is, whether one can be classified as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor in matters of discipline

(iv) Academic performance, that is, whether one is assessed to be excellent, very good, good, average or below average

In each of these categories, marks are awarded and the total score arrived at (maximum 100) and the highest scorers are awarded the bursary.

Challenges to the administration of the bursary scheme

The fund has -experienced many challenges that have led to either delays or complete withholding of funds to various constituencies. These include lack of funds to open constituency bursary accounts, non-adherence to policy guidelines and criteria for disbursement, bureaucratic red-tape in disbursement stages and the fact that many parents have complained about being denied forms at the designated-offices or have been asked-to pay for them.There have been numerous complaints of members of the CBCs favouring students with influential but able, even rich, families. MPs and councillors have not escaped blame for unfairly influencing allocations to undeserving students. The ministry’s bursary allocations to individual constituencies remain inadequate, given the high poverty levels.

Summary

From the structure of the Constituency Bursary Fund, it is clear that it has noble intentions. However, community members and leaders need to take note of the challenges involved in administering the fund, which include the following:

(i) There are cases where securing application forms is a big headache, and when available they are sold to prospective applicants. In some cases, instead of the forms being freely available at the AEO’s, Chiefs or D.O’s offices, they are selectively given out by individuals!These are cases of corruption and abuse of office.

(ii) The principle of bright and needy students is not universally upheld because there are many cases where rules are bent to make some minimum amount available to all or at least majority of the applicants! This is how the bursary allocations end up at a figure as low as Kshs. 1,000 per student.

(iii) There is no provision for students joining Form One. One has to first get admitted before being considered for bursary. This becomes an obstacle to the very needy such as total orphans who may not be admitted to a school without paying fee.

(iv) Publicizing the list of beneficiaries is still not a widely practiced procedure, leaving many people unaware of the beneficiaries in their areas. This is a blow to ensuring accountability and transparency since access to information is very important.

(v) The failure to provide full bursary to the totally orphaned students, or the practice of sharing out very minimal amounts among many students, leaves them still facing the risk of dropping out of school.

(vi) Bureaucratic procedures in disbursement end up delaying the release of funds to schools leading to beneficiaries being sent home, only to return after missing many classes.

(vii) Failure to allocate to the truly deserving cases and allocation of bursaries to students whose parents are capable of paying fees is a blow to the objectives of assisting the poor.

(viii) There are many cases of multiple allocations that amount to fraud; one student could be awarded bursary twice at the expense of other students!

(ix) The bursary fund is prone to abuse given that there are other Rinds that offer bursary. The CDF has provision for bursary, while a number of local Councils award bursaries. There is no consolidated framework to oversee all the bursary Rinds.

(x) In some cases, MPs/members of CBCs influence the allocation of bursaries to students who enrol in schools where MPs/members of CBCs are owners or have financial interests.

The role of Citizens

• Sensitize patents and guardians of needy [and mote so the orphaned] students on the existence of the CBF and how to access the same
• Monitor the activities of the CBC to ensure fairness in the award of funds, for instance, by demanding publication and display of lists of successful applicants and the bursary amounts awarded to each
• Petition the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education (P.O. Box 30040 Nairobi) on any irregularity noted in the disbursement process.


 

                                 

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