Why primary and secondary schools might resume for second term late than usual

Public primary and secondary schools nationwide may experience a delayed start to the second term this year due to the looming threat of a strike by school administrators over delayed government funding.

Representatives from the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have issued an ultimatum, giving the Ministry of Education seven days to disburse the necessary funds. Failure to do so would result in the closure of schools, as threatened by the union.

The potential strike aims to halt the reopening of institutions for the second term until the government fulfills its obligation to release an estimated total of Sh54 billion in funds.

Chairperson of KUPPET, Omboko Milemba, emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “We are giving the government seven days to disburse the funds; otherwise, we will instruct our teachers to close down schools and send students home until the day the funds are received.”

The union highlighted that the government has only disbursed Sh3,877 per school, significantly below the expected Sh11,122 for the first term. This delay has severely affected school operations, making it challenging for institutions to fulfill their financial obligations, such as utility bills, staff salaries, and procurement of educational materials.

Moreover, some schools are facing legal action from suppliers due to outstanding bills, posing a threat to the quality of education, particularly for day secondary schools, which rely heavily on government funding.

KUPPET strongly opposes the proposed reduction of secondary school funding from Sh22,224 to Sh17,000 per learner. Secretary General Akelo Misori asserted, “Schools will not open for the second term. It is grossly immoral to consider reducing the capitation amount.”

Misori criticized the government’s decision to terminate the EduAfya medical insurance scheme without providing an alternative solution. The program, administered by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), insured approximately 3.5 million students for four years at a cost of Sh10 billion.

The discontinuation of the scheme has left millions of learners without medical coverage. Misori called upon President William Ruto to intervene, stating, “Given the various cuts to education this year, KUPPET believes that only President William Ruto can prevent further harm. Therefore, we appeal directly to the President to address the issues affecting the education budget.”

In conclusion, the potential strike and funding delays pose significant challenges to the education sector, necessitating urgent government intervention to ensure the smooth operation of schools and the well-being of students.