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The Mystery of Missing Sh1.7bn Intended for Junior Secondary School CBC Classes

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The Mystery of Missing Sh1.7bn Intended for Junior Secondary School CBC Classes

Questions have arisen regarding the construction of 10,000 classes in secondary schools during the Uhuru Kenyatta administration, intended to tackle the transition challenges of learners to Junior School under a Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

A report by the Auditor-General has brought to light concerns about irregularities and unaccounted funds in the ministry’s spending on classroom construction in 2021.

The audit, which evaluated the Basic Education Department’s financial records, revealed that the allocation of Sh1.78 billion for classroom construction remained unaccounted for. Initially, the ministry reported spending Sh4.48 billion on the project, significantly surpassing the approved budget of Sh2.69 billion.

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The construction aimed to alleviate existing congestion in schools and prepare for the anticipated transition of Grade 6 learners to junior secondary schools under the new CBC, predating the decision to host Junior School.

“In the circumstances, we could not confirm the accuracy, completeness, validity, and regularity of the expenditure amounting to Sh1,784,068,016 as a proper charge to public funds,” the auditor’s report stated.

The ministry failed to furnish documentation on procurement procedures and contractor selection for the project, with auditors noting a lack of market research justifying the set cost of Sh709,398 per classroom and missing status reports on construction progress.

While appearing before the Education Committee of the National Assembly, Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang acknowledged funding discrepancies. He stated that the Treasury provided only a fraction of the Sh4 billion initially approved for class construction.

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The government provided Sh2.6 billion, insufficient for construction, with the balance expected during the Supplementary Estimates of the Financial Year 2021-2022, which was never provided.

To cover the shortfall, Kipsang revealed that the Ministry of Education sourced funds from other avenues, pulling Sh1.45 billion from the Secondary School Infrastructure Improvement funds and reallocating Sh692 million originally designated for purchasing desks in primary schools to classroom construction, making the total allocation for the project Sh4.14 billion.

Kipsang further clarified that the construction was part of the Kenya Economic Stimulus Package to revitalise the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects. At the sub-county level, the ministry selected local contractors near the benefiting schools for the construction.

The report has also raised concerns about the procurement method used for the construction of the CBC classrooms and the identification of various contractors.

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The Mystery of Missing Sh1.7bn Intended for Junior Secondary School CBC Classes

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