Use JSS funds prudently

The Ministry of Education has disbursed tuition and operation funds for the first term of Junior Secondary School—albeit rather belatedly when learners are headed home for the end-of-term break.

And it comes with tough conditions on spending. Heads of this level of learning were cautioned against borrowing from banks, hiring purchase firms and other lenders without the express written approval of the Cabinet Secretary, as per Section 18 of the Fourth Schedule of the Basic Education Act, 2013, or using tuition funds for operations and vice versa. 

This, and the precise breakdown that the ministry has prescribed for the various vote heads, will go a long way in easing audits and ensuring transparency in the use of the funds.

And while the head teachers must follow the accounting guidelines and procedures to the letter, the ministry must take cognisance of the fact that these institutions have been operating without budgetary support and could, therefore, have felt impelled to hammer out deals with the prohibited institutions just to stay afloat.

The way forward would be for any such transactions to be reported and regularised to pave the way for a fresh start; otherwise, applying the rules retroactively would be unfair to the institutions.

Better still, the government should ensure that capitation for learners is released on time so that these institutions run smoothly.

The head teachers must also work with sub-county and county directors of education to ensure that the allocated funds match the number of learners in a school and that variances addressed before schools reopen.

There is also a need to ensure no money is allocated to ghost students, as in the past.