The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has committed Sh2 billion to provide private schools with working capital in a deal with the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA).
The deal targeting primary and secondary private schools will be available to member schools at 11 per cent interest initially in the next two months.
Among projects that the Elimu Konnect programme will cover include infrastructure upgrades, ICT development and asset financing including the purchase of school buses, laboratory equipment and land.
“We are happy to have a financial partner that is focused on supporting the education ecosystem to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,” said KPSA chairman Charles Ochome.
The deal also includes UNIFIED Alternative Providers for Basic Education and Training (APBET) Schools Association-Kenya. The two are Kenya's umbrella bodies for private schools that complement the government’s efforts in the provision and expansion of access to quality education.
“The NBK Elimu Konnect programme seeks to address the challenges in the enablement of the education sector in Kenya with a view to capacity building, financial enablement, technology improvement, innovation and excellence in learning,” said NBK acting managing director Peter Kioko.
The initiative further creates collaboration partners in the education sector such as Kodris Africa for a Coding for Schools platform.
Under the deal, Kodris Africa will provide a 20 per cent discount to the schools funded through the NBK– Private Schools partnership.
Private schools were hit hard at the peak of the Covid pandemic following prolonged closure that saw some accrue rent and other overhead expenditures.
The schools borrowed Sh14 billion in the eight months to December 2020 for survival as the Covid-19 pandemic paralysed learning, forcing some to shut down permanently.
The institutions turned to commercial sources of funding after the government went silent on its promise to provide an Sh7 billion stimulus package to help them navigate challenges posed by the pandemic.
The schools also grappled with a drop in student enrollment by 11 per cent to 1.45 million between March 2020 and March 2021, according to the 2021 Economic Survey.
The statistics show the number of private schools reduced by 1,031 to 8,160 during the review period in the absence of a stimulus package.