Urgently release funds to resolve exam term crisis

Schools have reopened for the third and last term of the current academic year, but all is not well. This happens to be the most critical period for the preparations and sitting of national exams.

But just three weeks since schools reopened, the Ministry of Education has not disbursed the money for tuition and other expenses. It is a tough challenge for the head teachers, who have had to send the learners home for fees.

The Grade Six and Standard Eight candidates will sit their KPSEA and KCPE exams, respectively, for four days from October 30 to November 2. This will be the last cohort of the KCPE students and the 8-4-4 system that was replaced by the Competency-Based Curriculum.

Without the funds, boarding schools cannot afford to feed the learners and are forced to release them to go back to their homes.

To end the crisis, teachers’ unions and school managements are urging the government to release the Free Primary Education (FPE) and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) funds. The delay has hampered the running of the institutions and the school heads do not have magic wands to wave away this challenge.

The school heads are now torn between mobilising their teams for good results in the exams and looking for money to keep the learners in class. It is a hostile environment as the schools also owe suppliers millions of shillings and cannot clear their debts without capitation from the government, and which is not forthcoming. Schools received the money allocated for the second term but it was clearly not enough and it was used to clear some of the debts.

The schools now urgently need the money to prepare for the practical tests, which require materials, chemicals and equipment. And mark you; the Form Four exams begin next month.

This is certainly a crucial period for the schools, and which the suppliers will definitely seek to take advantage of by refusing to deliver until they are paid. The schools also need to pay non-teaching staff, without whom their operations will simply grind to a halt. The only solution is for the government to find a way to release the money that the schools are entitled to.