Education given Sh597bn in new budget proposals
According to budget projections included in the 2023 Budget Policy Statement (BPS), which will be presented to the National Parliament tomorrow, the education sector will receive Sh597 billion. Compared to the sector’s baseline budget for previous year, this indicates a higher budget ceiling of Sh53 billion.
The additional funds are supposed to support junior secondary schools (JSS), hire more teachers, upgrade school facilities, and finance higher education, but there are still significant shortfalls totaling about Sh200 billion throughout the 13 programmes in the industry.
The “Report on the Consideration of the 2023 Budget Policy Statement for the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC)” contains information about this.
The National Assembly’s Education Committee created it in response to suggestions made by the three ministry departments and TSC.
TSC gets the largest allocation at Sh322,733 billion. Sh3.8 million is meant for the hiring of 20,000 new teachers to support JSS which was rolled out in January but faces a serious staffing challenge. Sh11.1 billion will be for salaries of the 20,000 interns and 10,000 teachers hired on permanent and pensionable terms in February.
The committee, which is chaired by Mr Julius Melly (Tinderet, UDA) has recommended to the Budget and Appropriations Committee the raising of the ceiling for TSC to allow for Sh2.2 billion to be used for the promotion of teachers. Teachers unions have been clamouring for the promotion of thousands of teachers who have stagnated in the same job groups despite being due for promotion. The number that will be promoted this year is however way below what unions have been demanding.
TSC has been allocated Sh1.3 billion for training teachers and tutors on the competency-based curriculum. However, the BPS does not provide a budget for the mandatory Teacher Professional Development programme despite earlier promises that the government would take the burden off teachers.
The Ministry of Education and TSC appeared before the Committee on February 27and 28 to deliberate of the contents of the BPS. Basic education has the highest increase in expected expenditure (17 per cent). Sh130 billion has been proposed for the department, up from the 2022 baseline of Sh110.7 billion. This is mainly because the new capitation for JSS (Sh15,042 per learner) and expansion of infrastructure in primary schools that host JSS.
The financial problems that beleaguer higher education are unlikely to go away as allocation to the department have a shortfall of more than Sh51.7 billion.
Public universities and constituent colleges had pending bills totalling Sh56 billion by end of June last year. This now stands at Sh61.1 billion. The institutions now have a budget ceiling of Sh90.9 billion. The report proposes an end to placement of government-sponsored students in private universities, saying, public universities have enough space to accommodate them.
The Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms is expected to give recommendations on how to save the sector, among other issues, at the end of this month. The Higher Education Loans Board had request Sh25 billion for student loans in universities and tertiary colleges but has been allocated Sh17 billion.