About 200 secondary school heads have no money to run their institutions for the next 10 weeks.
Used to the traditional method of submitting estimates of the number of students in their institutions, the National Information Management Information System (Nemis) appears to have caught some heads unprepared.
Some of the affected schools had contemplated taking bank loans hedged on the fees collection from students but they have been stopped in their tracks by the county directors of education.
“There is no way I can keep 200 students, majority of them boarders, in my school with no money. The suppliers cannot lend me anymore because the school owes them Sh4 million,” said one principal from Makueni.
According to the teacher, the ministry sent the school its allocation last term based on submitted estimates. However, in second term, the actual statistics and details of all students were submitted in the hope this would unlock capitation.
“When the government finally released the money, I expected 30 per cent of capitation. It was however reduced to 15 per cent. I was also informed that the school had been overpaid in the previous allocations,” said the teacher.
So instead of getting the Sh800,000 the teacher expected, he was informed that all had been withheld on account of the over payment and that he still owed the ministry Sh200,000 which will be recovered in the next release.
Another affected teacher from Laikipia described the nightmare he was living through after getting nothing even after going through the whole of first term without money.
“Last term, it was bad news. This term it is a disaster. According to Nemis, I was allocated money but it went to pay for the extra we got last year. I have 200 students and I do not know what to feed them on. I have workers to pay. I spend at least Sh20,000 on meals alone per week and there are 10 weeks. What will I do?”
The teacher said he dreaded encountering his suppliers whose patience has run thin after they were not paid even after giving goods and services on credit in the hope that their debts would be settled after the second term tranche was released by the ministry.
But some heads admitted that their colleagues had themselves to blame. One principal said some heads were reluctant to strictly adhere to the system, thus ending up missing out. He even cited one who wasn’t conversant with Nemis, and relied on cyber cafe attendants and could therefore not log into the system for confirmation.
A Ministry of Education official who declined to be named said there was a crisis over what he termed as “foolish use of estimates” by the affected schools.
According to the ministry, the affected principals had been using inflated number of students to get money from the government, but have been busted by the use of Nemis.
The introduction of Nemis, the officer said, had eliminated guesswork and flushed out principals who have over the years been using exaggerated numbers to get more money for their schools.
Before the government can release money to schools, details of all students are supposed to be in Nemis.