Principals struggling to run schools over debts cites poor funding

Principals struggling to run schools over debts cites poor funding

Secondary schools are facing financial crisis as they grapple with debts running into millions of shillings owed to various suppliers due to the decline in funding of schools from the government.

Most of the debts arise from the purchase of food items for use in schools.

LOOTED ACCOUNTS

Principals of some of the 9,000 secondary schools have had to play hide-and-seek games as suppliers put them on pressure to settle the debts whenever the government announces that it has released capitation to schools.

The crisis has been compounded by the government directive that all students be registered under Nemis which has seen some students miss funding due to lack of birth certificates.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli said the association is not able to compute the amount of money schools owe suppliers for goods and services delivered.

“Each school owes suppliers and it handles them individually,” said Mr Indimuli who admitted that the institutions are facing a financial crisis.

Some of the schools have had to turn to harambees in order to construct classrooms, dormitories and toilets despite a Sh439 billion budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education for infrastructure development. Secondary schools have since asked for Sh9 billion for infrastructure development from the current Sh1.5 billion which the ministry of Education agrees is too little.

And government officials and politicians have had to conduct funds drives for schools to help them put up these crucial facilities in order to accommodate the high number of students under the 100 per cent transition policy, which is in its second year.

Last year, the Teachers Service Commission ordered an investigation over misappropriation of funds in schools which led to the transfer of several head teachers whose institutions had audit queries.

This is after it emerged that new principals of the affected schools had detected that their transferred colleagues had “looted” their former stations leaving behind empty bank accounts and heavy debts.

ACCUMULATED BILLS

Special schools have not been left out of this crisis with Special School Headteachers Association of Kenya chairman Arthur Injenga indicating that more 200 schools are in financial crisis since they cannot settle debts.

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