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

 

Free Primary Education

The Government introduced Free Primary Education in 2003. By then it planned for Kenya to realize Universal Primary Education (UPE) by the year 2005 and Education For All by the year 2015 in line with United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed in the year 2000. Launched, by the Minister of Education on 6th January 2003, FPE is a response to World Conference Education for all held in Jomtien, Thailand in 1990 and the World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. The Government of Kenya, having accepted and signed the recommendations of these two international conferences on increasing access to education, considers attainment of UPE as a critical component of the national Development Strategy.

Free Primary Education allows children to access education without discrimination. The Government has endeavoured to remove major obstacles that binder children of school-going age from accessing and completing primary education. However, many children still face serious challenges to accessing primary education, especially children living in urban slums, poor rural areas and the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL).

The main features of Free Primary Education

With the introduction of Free Primary Education in 2003, fees and levies for tuition in primary education were abolished. The Government and development partners meet the cost of basic teaching and learning materials, teachers’ salaries, ‘Cvages and co-curricular activities. At inception in January 2003, the Government started paying Kshs. 1,020.00 (one Thousand and Twenty Kenya Shillings) for each child per annum/year.

FPE is a joint responsibility

The Government considers its provision as central to poverty reduction and FPE is being implemented in the spirit of partnership. As the government shoulders other roles like paying teachers salaries, parents or guardians are still required to meet the following costs:

a)  Examination fee for class 8
b)  School meals
c)  School Uniform
d)  Healthcare
e)  Boarding Facilities
f) Transport to and from school

In the arid and semi-arid areas, the Government continues to supplement efforts by parents in managing the low-cost boarding schools and the school feeding programme. In every part of Kenya, Public Primary Schools are expected to enrol children of school-going age without discrimination. Schools are expected to be all inclusive and cater for all, even those ‘with special needs like the disabled, the slow learners and the visually challenged. Children of school-going age are boys and girls generally aged between 6 and 13 years. However, under FPE anyone who wishes to go to primary school is free to do so regardless of his/her age.

Overage children who wish to enrol in primary school are encouraged to attend on the basis of the principle of inclusive education. It caters for the learners’ needs with the mainstream school and advocates for all the children to access education of the best quality in their neighbourhood. Double shifts (i.e. morning and afternoon classes) for standard I to 3 are encouraged for schools which have enrolled more pupils than they have the capacity to handle. There have
been incidents of adults, including old people, presenting themselves to benefit from Free Primary Education. Government policy requires adults to join Adult Learning Centres.

Under FPE, parents are not required to build new schools but to improve the existing facilities such as community and religious buildings. They are encouraged to refurbish such structures which are not under full utilization and make them available to neighbourhood schools.

FPE does not however stop community initiatives. Extra charges for initiatives like swimming pools, transport charges and their maintenance must however first be discussed with parents, agreed upon and approval sought from the Ministry. To charge additional levies, school heads and communities must obtain approval from the Ministry of Education. A request from the same must be sent to the District Education Board (DEB) by the Area Education Officer (AEO) after there has been a consensus among parents on the need for the levy. On receiving such request, the DEB submits the same to the Provincial Director of Education (P DE) for forwarding to the Ministry headquarters for consideration. Schools are only allowed to charge additional levies after approval by the Ministry.

In order to facilitate proper management and use of Free Primary Education funds, it is mandatory for schools to open and maintain bank accounts. The Government, which is the main source of funds for FPE, requires each school to operate two bank accounts, i.e. a SIMBA account and a General Purpose Account (GPA). The schools may operate other accounts for other donations or grants. Each account serves its functions as stated below:

Simba Account
The Government disburses into this account Ksh.650 per pupil every year to all public primary schools in Kenya. This money is to be used to fmance the following:

(a) Text books
(b) Exercise books
(c) Pens/pencils
(d) Supplementary Reading and reference materials
(e) Registers, chalks and dusters
( Charts and wall maps to assist in the learning process

General Purpose Account (GPA)

The Government disburses into this account Ksh.370 for each pupil every year for every public primary school. This money is for financing the following:
(a) Salaries and wages of subordinate staff
(b) Repairs maintenance and improvement (RMI)
(c) Support for co-curricula activities
(d) Quality assurance services
(e) Electricity and water provision
(f) Postage, telephone and box rental
(g) Travel and transport
(h) Contingencies

The decision to open a bank account in a particular bank and branch must be discussed and approved by the School Management Committee (SMC) meeting and should be recorded in the School’s minute book. It is also a requirement that schools get a letter of introduction from the D.E.O’s office before opening bank accounts. The SMC should ensure that there are three designated cheque signatories, one of whom must be the Head Teacher of the school. High value expenditure should be approved by the SMC before the cheques are drawn and signed. For a cheque to be valid, it must be signed by all the three signatories.

Members of the SMC are supposed to serve for a one year renewable term. Elections of the SMC members are to be held every year during the Annual General Meeting (AGM). There is no limit to how many terms parents elected on the SMC can serve. Individuals can serve for as many terms as the local community wants them to.

In order to achieve the goals of FPE, schools are required to operate within the provisions and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education. Head teachers and School Committees are expected to ensure good governance of institutions under their management. All schools must:

a. Have functional School Committees
b. Work closely with the Ministry of Education partners in advocacy and create awareness of FPE
c. Set up FPE tuition accounts for schools to purchase instructional
materials and an FPE operations’ account to cover operational costs
d. Purchase approved instructional material
e. Involve parents and communities in making decisions on school expenditure
f Provide each pupil with the minimum specified supplies of stationery
every year and ensure all guardians or parents of all pupils in lower primary have signed for any stationery supplied
g. Maintain records of pupils and receipts for audit
h. Seek for and receive approval from the Ministry of Education before effecting any additional levies from parents -
i. Manage the educational institutions
j. Develop and implement school development plans


School Audit

The Education Act (Revised 1980) CAP 211 stipulates that annual accounts of all educational institutions receiving public funds should be audited by the audit unit of the Ministry of Education or in special cases by an approved firm of Accountants as directed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry (Grant-In- Aid rule number 173).

Head teachers are required to submit the schools’ audit accounts records, and all finance statements to the auditors by the 31’s ofJanuary of the following academic year. Failure to submit the required information to the auditors on time may result in disciplinary action being taken against the head-teacher who is the school’s principal accounting and supervisory officer. The head teacher is deemed responsible for the school’s financial transactions, preparation of financial statements and the overall integrity of the school’s financial management.


Roles of various Stakeholders in the implementation of FPE

Ministry of Education

The government has a deliberate policy of involvement of stakeholders in policy dialogue, planning and implementation of FPE. The Ministry is responsible for the following:

• Developing an implementation plan and budget for FPE

• Establishing and supervising any necessary taskforces that are meant to ease implementation of FPE

• Appointing credible trustees for the Universal Primary Education Fund and ensuring all funds committed to FPE are properly managed and accounted for

• Disseminating correct and timely information on FPE and sensitizing the public on their role in FPE, primarily using the media desk at the Ministry Headquarters

• Ensuring proper management and efficient use of existing school resources and supporting continuous capacity building of SMC and teachers in prudent public resource management

• Supporting the provision of basic teaching and learning materials (chalk, books, games materials, etc)

• Encouraging community income generating initiatives to support FPE

• Auditing the use of the FPE resources

• Conducting routine and ad-hoc inspection of schools to ensure delivery of quality education

The Government promotes the policy of joint management of primary schools together with local communities. Representatives of the local communities therefore form an important part of the people responsible for the management
of Free Primary Education funds. These representatives come together with other stakeholders to form the very important institution called the Schodi Management Committee (5MG).

Members of the SMC are supposed to serve for a one year renewable term. Elections of the SMC members are to be held every year during the Annual General Meeting (AGM). There is no limit to how many terms parents elected on the SMC can serve. Individuals can serve for as many terms as the local community wants them to.

In order to achieve the goals of FPE, schools are required to operate within the provisions and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education. Head teachers and School Committees are expected to ensure good governance of institutions under their management. All schools must:

a. Have functional School Committees
b. Work closely with the Ministry of Education partners in advocacy and create awareness   of FPE
c. Set up FPE tuition accounts for schools to purchase instructional
materials and an FPE operations’ account to cover operational costs
d. Purchase approved instructional material
e. Involve parents and communities in making decisions on school expenditure
f. Provide each pupil with the minimum specified supplies of stationery
every year and ensure all guardians or parents of all pupils in lower primary have signed for any stationery supplied
g. Maintain records of pupils and receipts for audit
h. Seek for and receive approval from the Ministry of Education before effecting any additional levies from parents -
i. Manage the educational institutions
j. Develop and implement school development plans
 

Teachers

It is expected that teachers have adequate training and undergo in-service training supported by the Government on a continuous basis. As a result, the teachers should be able to do the following:
a. Encourage all parents to take their children to school
b. Provide quality education in line with the curriculum
c. Prepare and use locally available learning materials and resources
d. Make their school gender responsive and have a child-friendly learning environment
e. - Serve as role models to pupils and ensure discipline during school hours
f. Guide and counsel pupils during school hours and advice parents where necessary on the children’s welfare and discipline
- g. Ensure pupils have all the necessary materials for their learning
h. Co-operate with and seek the support of patents in their work
i. Improve teaching methods through in-service training

The District Education Office

The District Education Officer (DEO) is the Ministry of Education’s Local Officer for implementing education policies and programmes at the district level.The district offices work closely with all stakeholders at the district level to ensure that:

a. All FPE implementation plans for the district are developed
b. District-wide sensitization and facilitation of FPE to rally all stake holders to action
c. Stakeholder partnerships are forged for improving physical facilities and creating greater awareness on the importance of educating ALL children without discrimination
d. Up-to-date records of pupil’s school attendance and performance are kept
e. Petitions from School Management Committees are promptly at tended to
Schools seeking to charge additional levies strictly follow the Ministry’s guidelines and procedures on this
g. Prompt action is taken against school Head teachers and School Management Committee members who do not adhere to government policy on FPE
 

The DEOs also facilitate the involvement of other stakeholders like MPs, local Councillors, and development partners who assist in the smooth implementation of the programme. Further, they provide financial support to schools, for example, through CDF and LAW grants for expansion and refurbishment of physical facilities.

Pupils

FPE is about ensuring and providing education as a right for all children. Pupils are responsible for:
1) Attending school without fail
2) Concentrating on learning and co-curricular activities
3) Behaving well while in school and maintaining the highest respect for all teachers and parents
4) Freely talking to parents, guardians and teachers about concerns in and out of school

Parents and Local Communities

Patents and local communities are the biggest and most central stakeholders in public primary schools. They host the schools and in turn receive a very important service from the schools in form of education for their children. Parents are expected to maintain a positive attitude towards education and participate in decision making on FPE. Other roles of parents and local community members include:

(a) Facilitating every child’s access to primary school without discrimination
(b) Ensuring proper use of school funds and resources -
(c) Assisting their children with homework, uniforms and other welfare needs
(d) Ensuring both boys and girls have equal share of household chores at home in order to ensure that both have equal time for educational needs
(e) Participate in offering themselves as members and electing School Management Committees to support teachers in running the school ( Monitoring their children’s progress and supporting teachers in their work)
(g) Mobilizing additional resources required by the school
(h) Monitoring and tracking use of funds and other resources in schools, especially by attending ALL meetings convened by the School Management Committee
(i) Taking an active part in the development and implementation of school development plans
0) Ensuring there is transparency and accountability in school transactions by keeping in close touch with members of the School Management Committees
 

Challenges facing FEE

• The Free Primary Education in Kenya is not constitutionally protected. This makes its policy subject to political interference and its future uncertain. Education is a human right that every child must benefit from, and therefore needs to get constitutional recognition and protection

• Many parents and guardians are not yet sufficiently sensitized on FPE. There are still many children who are not going to school, and instead are engaged in communal/child labour to generate income for the family
• Some schools have experienced over-enrolment, putting a serious strain on the limited available facilities

• There seems to be lack of capacity and preparedness on the side of teachers to handle issues of pupil discipline after the ban on corporal punishment. There is a general lack of capacity by the teachers to provide counselling or alternative forms of instilling and maintaining discipline. This will in part be addressed through the introduction of Life Skills Education in all schools under the Kenya Institute of Education

Teacher shortage in many schools is causing heavy workloads for teachers and poor teacher attention to individual pupils. The teacher/student ratio is sti]l too high for effective learning. This leads especially to lack of personalized attention for slow learners

• Lack of adequate school facilities to service the needs of both the pupils and the teachers

• Funds allocated to schools still do not meet all their needs, forcing parents to make contributions to supplement the running of schools.

• Some of the Ministry of Education rules and guidelines fail to appreciate the unique nature, environmental context and needs of each school

• Inadequate instructional and learning materials due to overcrowded classes

• Lack of support for Early Childhood Education (ECD) has led to the transfer of early childhood lessons to the primary section because many parents are not willing to pay any money for ECD while FPE is free

• Inadequate knowledge on human resource management, book keeping, accounting and overall financial management amongst school head teachers

• Wastage on the part of the schools which have continued to purchase items like text books over the years, despite having achieved the necessary ratio of books per child.

• There are no transparent procurement guidelines for schools. Often teachers and their business associates end up as suppliers fuelling conflict of interest in the management of funds.

• Corruption by head teachers and systematic attempts to lock out from SMC community members that are well informed to question or are critical
of their management practices.
 


 

                                 

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