Education given Sh597bn in new budget proposals
What you need to know:
- Public universities and constituent colleges had pending bills totalling Sh56 billion by end of June last year.
- TSC has been allocated Sh1.3 billion for training teachers and tutors on the competency-based curriculum.
The education sector has been allocated Sh597 billion in budget proposals that form part of the 2023 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) to be tabled in the National Assembly tomorrow. This represents a higher budget ceiling of Sh53 billion compared to last year’s baseline for the sector.
The extra cash is intended to fund junior secondary schools (JSS), employ more teachers, improve infrastructure in schools and fund higher education but there still remains huge deficits of close to Sh200 billion across the 13 programmes in the sector.
The details are contained in the “Report on the Consideration of the 2023 Budget Policy Statement for the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC)”.
It has been prepared by the Education Committee of the National Assembly following proposals by the three departments at the ministry and TSC.
TSC gets the largest allocation at Sh322,733 billion. Sh3.8 million is meant for the hiring of 20,000 new teachers to support JSS which was rolled out in January but faces a serious staffing challenge. Sh11.1 billion will be for salaries of the 20,000 interns and 10,000 teachers hired on permanent and pensionable terms in February.
Promotion of teachers
The committee, which is chaired by Mr Julius Melly (Tinderet, UDA) has recommended to the Budget and Appropriations Committee the raising of the ceiling for TSC to allow for Sh2.2 billion to be used for the promotion of teachers. Teachers unions have been clamouring for the promotion of thousands of teachers who have stagnated in the same job groups despite being due for promotion. The number that will be promoted this year is however way below what unions have been demanding.
TSC has been allocated Sh1.3 billion for training teachers and tutors on the competency-based curriculum. However, the BPS does not provide a budget for the mandatory Teacher Professional Development programme despite earlier promises that the government would take the burden off teachers.
The Ministry of Education and TSC appeared before the Committee on February 27and 28 to deliberate of the contents of the BPS. Basic education has the highest increase in expected expenditure (17 per cent). Sh130 billion has been proposed for the department, up from the 2022 baseline of Sh110.7 billion. This is mainly because the new capitation for JSS (Sh15,042 per learner) and expansion of infrastructure in primary schools that host JSS.
The financial problems that beleaguer higher education are unlikely to go away as allocation to the department have a shortfall of more than Sh51.7 billion.
Public universities and constituent colleges had pending bills totalling Sh56 billion by end of June last year. This now stands at Sh61.1 billion. The institutions now have a budget ceiling of Sh90.9 billion. The report proposes an end to placement of government-sponsored students in private universities, saying, public universities have enough space to accommodate them.
Higher Education Loans Board
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms is expected to give recommendations on how to save the sector, among other issues, at the end of this month. The Higher Education Loans Board had request Sh25 billion for student loans in universities and tertiary colleges but has been allocated Sh17 billion.
The proposed Open University of Kenya has been allocated Sh1.8 billion. A technical committee headed by Prof Ezra Maritim is working on the establishment of the university that is expected to started admitting students in September.
The State Department for Technical Vocational Education and Training has been allocated Sh1 billion to build technical training institutes in the remaining 52 constituencies.
Each constituency will be allocated Sh20 million to commence the construction while the project is expected to take three years to complete.