In Kenya, the school capitation system serves a crucial role in facilitating access to secondary education for underprivileged students, aiming to enhance both enrollment and retention rates across the nation. The government allocates funds to each primary and secondary school student annually, with notable increases over the years.
Starting at Kshs10,265 per secondary student in its inception, the grant has progressively risen to Kshs22,244 in 2018. For primary schools, the grant stands at Sh1,420 per learner. However, it’s essential to revisit the inclusivity of this system, especially concerning Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET) schools, ensuring that learners in hard-to-reach areas receive the support they need.
To truly promote equality, there should be a transparent mechanism for identifying and prioritizing students in need. Currently, it is disheartening to witness well-off families benefitting from the same capitation as their less fortunate counterparts. The education system should implement a tool, similar to the new university funding model, to ascertain the genuine needs of each student, preventing situations where a minister’s daughter receives the same support as a student from a marginalized background.
Moreover, addressing bureaucratic hurdles is crucial. Learners without birth certificates, often found in vulnerable communities, should be supported in obtaining the necessary documentation. This proactive approach ensures that bureaucratic obstacles do not hinder educational opportunities for those who need them most.
The timing and completeness of capitation disbursement are equally critical. Releasing funds in bits creates challenges for schools to adequately plan and execute educational activities. Timely and full disbursement would empower institutions to provide quality education without disruptions.
In conclusion, as the Director of Sharp Education Centre and Junior in Kayole, Nairobi, Dr. Paul Wanjohi advocates for a fair and inclusive education system. Reinstating capitation for APBET schools, implementing a needs-based assessment tool, assisting students in obtaining vital documents, and ensuring timely and complete fund disbursement are key steps towards a more equitable educational landscape in Kenya.