Financial crisis hits alternative basic education schools as government delay funds

KISUMU, KENYA: Primary schools offering Alternative Basic Education (ABE) in Kenya are now on the brink of closing down after the ministry of education failed to disburse for them Free Primary Education (FPE) funds this year.

Head teachers of the schools told The Standard that their pupils have now become a forgotten lot after their counterparts in other public primary schools received their share about a month ago.

Alternative Basic Educationschools are nonprofit institutions that offer education to vulnerable children including orphans and those from poor backgrounds. In the past, they have been receiving Sh711 per year for each pupil under the FPE funds.

This year however, they said the government has delayed releasing the funds despite of an assurance from the ministry of education that the funds had been processed.

They said operations in their schools are now on the verge to ground further if the Government delays further in releasing funds for the term.

Nyanza Region chairperson for the schools John Ochieng said the fate of the vulnerable children learning in the schools now hang in a balance because of lack of funds.

He said they were expecting the government to disburse for them FPE money in December last year like it has always been the case in the past years but have been left disappointed.

At the moment, he said, most teachers have been forced to dig deep into their pockets to fund a number of activities including the purchase of learning and teaching materials.

“Each year, the government has been paying Sh711 for the children studying in the ABE schools under the Free Primary Education but this year, we are yet to receive a penny,” said Ochieng.

Ochieng noted that most of pupils learning in their schools were vulnerable with a majority of them coming from poor backgrounds and cannot afford any additional burden of fees.

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