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Treasury budget cuts spell doom for schools infrastructure

George Magoha.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The National Treasury has cut funding for education infrastructure by a third, pointing to continued existence of dilapidated structures despite chase for higher enrolment in schools.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has termed the allocation of Sh200 million in the year starting July “as the biggest joke of the century”.

In the 2019/2020 financial year ending June, Treasury had allocated the Ministry Sh300 million to improve infrastructure in public primary schools amid a push by government to increase pupil enrolment in the 23,000 institutions.

“If the government is giving the Ministry of Education Sh200 million to improve primary school infrastructure, I take it as the biggest joke of the century,” he told the National Assembly committee on Education on Wednesday.

The CS noted that the biggest bottleneck to achieving quality education was dilapidated learning facilities, which also pose danger to the safety of the pupils.

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Recent tragedies in schools have raised questions on safety of learners and brought to the fore the state of public learning institutions, many of which are in shambles.

Earlier this month, 14 pupils died in a stampede at Kakamega Primary School. The incident came barely six months after the lose of eight learners at Precious Talent Academy in Nairobi after a substandard classroom collapsed.

The September incident forced the government to order the audit of infrastructure of all schools in the country. Some schools were closed down.

UNDERFUNDING

According to the Education ministry, the Treasury allocation flies in the face of the government policy on the competency-based curriculum requires that every child that has reached school-going age to be enrolled in school.

“If the number of children in primary schools is going to increase, it does not make sense that the budget remains as per last year,” Prof Magoha said during examination of the 2020/2021 Budget Policy Statement.

He said the underfunding will only make things worse by creating room for corruption and plundering of public resources.

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