The government has released funds to run schools and pay teachers hired by boards of management (BOM) and support staff.
Several secondary school principals confirmed that Treasury has deposited Sh3,725 per learner to their operations account and a shilling into the tuition account.
“The funds have already reflected in the National Education Management Information System,” a principal said.
There had been speculations and claims that the government has reversed the funds it allocated to the schools but Education CAS Zacky Kinuthia said it was just a minor technical hitch and the anormally will be corrected.
The Ministry of Education has not revealed the total amount given to schools but Cabinet Secretary George Magoha told lawmakers on Thursday that funds have been set aside for school operations.
Prof Magoha told the National Assembly Education Committee that he has sought approval from the Treasury for money to expand and equip schools ahead of reopening in January.
“The second and third-term money was redirected to the Covid-19 Education Emergency Fund,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
The ministry was allocated Sh497.5 billion in the 2020/21 financial year budget, with Sh59.4 billion expected to go to free secondary education and Sh12.4 billion for free primary education.
Some Sh2.1 billion will be used to build additional classrooms for secondary schools and Sh6.5 billion to hire teachers and improve infrastructure. Prof Magoha said the funds will be released to schools before the January opening date.
“We are ready to consider all options for learning to continue if the coronavirus infection curve flattens tomorrow,” he said.
But Prof Magoha maintained that schools would only reopen for face-to-face instruction when there is a consistent daily decline of Covid-19 infections for at least two weeks.
“Decisions regarding reopening may change as informed by prevailing circumstances and increased knowledge of Covid-19. The Ministry of Health projects a peak around October,” he added.
“Learning institutions will continue making arrangements for reopening, based on the guidelines and checklists provided by the Ministry of Health. However, the authority to reopen for face-to-face learning and research will be informed by further guidance from Health and Education ministries based on the dynamics of preparedness.”
Prof Magoha expressed concern that the Covid-19 situation is growing worse, adding that university and college employees have been gravely affected.
He told the MPs that the government would facilitate the acquisition of face masks, soap, sanitiser, thermal guns and other needs in containing the virus.
The CS said heads, board of management members, councils and key support workers would be the first to report to learning institutions.
The first few days of reopening will be taken up by orientation of learners to health guidelines such as appropriate hand washing, social distancing and proper use of masks.
He said institutions that have been converted into quarantine centres will be vacated and fumigated at least 14 days before reopening.
Academic and other support staff will be required to report to the institutions two weeks before reopening in order to be made aware of new rules.