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Financial Woes Force Early School Closures

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Financial Woes Force Early School Closures

Financial constraints are forcing several secondary schools to close early this term, raising concerns about the coverage of the syllabus.

The academic year’s first term commenced on January 8, 2024, with the original closing date set for April 5, 2024. However, numerous schools are opting to close earlier, potentially compromising students’ learning time.

With schools closing prematurely, some institutions risk losing up to two weeks of crucial learning time. This situation could lead to a hurried attempt by teachers to cover the syllabus.

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Naivasha Girls Secondary School, initially scheduled to close on April 4, has revised its term dates. A recent decision by the school board now dictates an early closure, with students breaking for holidays on March 28.

A teacher from Naivasha Girls revealed that the decision to close early was a cost-cutting measure due to delayed government fund disbursement.

Affected students will enjoy an extended holiday, spanning a month, before the start of the second term on April 24. This adjustment extends the holiday period beyond the Ministry of Education’s initially scheduled three weeks.

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Financial difficulties, exacerbated by delayed government funding and unpaid fees by some parents, are driving the trend of early school closures.

Headteachers across various Nairobi schools, including Huruma Girls Secondary School and Jamhuri High School, are planning to release students before Good Friday due to financial constraints.

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Despite the government’s release of education funds, including capitation, schools continue to face financial strain. The shortfall in released funds has sparked concern among teachers’ unions, notably Knut and Kuppet.

Both Knut and Kuppet have voiced concerns over the dire financial situation in schools, warning of potential disruptions to learning if funds are not disbursed promptly.

Kuppet’s secretary-general, Akelo Misori, cautioned that schools might not reopen for the second term without the full release of owed capitation funds.

Resistance to Budgetary Cuts and Operational Challenges

Unionists strongly oppose recent budget cuts in education, citing adverse effects such as reduced capitation per learner. These cuts have significantly impacted schools’ ability to meet operational expenses, including utility bills and staffing.

Kuppet’s regional offices, including the Nyeri branch, have echoed the concerns about delayed fund disbursement, warning of possible early school closures if the situation persists.

Francis Wanjohi, the county executive secretary for Kuppet in Nyeri, emphasized the strain principals experience as a result of inadequate funding, endangering crucial school operations.

The collective sentiment among educators and unions underscores the urgent need for the government to address financial challenges facing schools to ensure uninterrupted learning.

Financial Woes Force Early School Closures

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