Education will walk away with the lion’s share of the 2020/21 national budget, a total allocation of a staggering Sh505.2 billion.
However, the bulk of that amount will be for recurrent expenditure, with just Sh24.1 billion earmarked for development.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is the biggest beneficiary, having been allocated Sh266 billion – a huge leap from the Sh241.1 billion given in this financial year.
The teachers’ employer, which is independent of the Ministry of Education, has over the years struggled to plug staffing gaps in schools.
The commission will utilise Sh257.97 billion in teacher resource management, which will include hiring of 5,000 secondary school instructors.
The government will also recruit 4,920 primary school teachers, though this will fall short of the dream target of a 40:1 pupil-teacher ratio.
Many public schools are congested, with some classrooms having more than 70 learners.
This has been blamed for poor curriculum delivery that ultimately affects learning outcomes.
Last year, the TSC started an internship programme for primary and secondary school teachers, who are paid Sh10,000 and 15,000 monthly respectively.
The commission projects to engage 5,000 interns for secondary and 4,300 for primary schools in the new financial year.
Despite plans to employ teachers, the shortage is still expected to stand at 98,448 by the end of 2020.
A total of Sh1 billion will be spent on governance and standards while Sh7.1 billion will go to general administration, planning and support services.
The commission has been tasked with training the teachers in its payroll.
According to the commission, it trained 92,000 teachers on the competence-based curriculum (CBC) last year.
Teachers’ unions and other education players, however, criticised the training as being too inadequate to equip teachers with requisite skills for the CBC.
The commission will train more teachers, with the pioneer class expected to be in Grade Five next year.
The full implementation of the CBC will have a significant impact on teacher demand as it calls for small class sizes.
Primary school teachers will take Sh165.5 billion, secondary school teachers Sh87.5 billion and tertiary level tutors Sh3.6 billion.
Teachers are keenly waiting for the end of July, when the commission pays the last phase of the Sh54 billion Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) their unions signed with the TSC in 2016.
The CBA became the centre of disputes between the TSC and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) last year after union members were left out of the third phase of the pay deal following a controversial interpretation of an Industrial and Labour Relations Court ruling.
As a result of this, Knut and TSC have sued and counter-sued each other.
Tens of thousands of Knut members have since left the union so as not to miss out on the pay salary increments. The TSC also stopped deducting and remitting to Knut union dues, crippling its operations countrywide.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha will manage the expenditure of Sh239 billion spread across four state departments.
The State Department for University Education has the largest share, with Sh113.3 billion going its way.
Money allocated to public universities has been rising over the years.
Some Sh72.1 billion was given to the institutions in the 2016/17 financial year, Sh100.8 billion in 2017/18 and Sh111.86 billion in 2018/19.
However, university enrolment has fallen over the years, owing to reforms in the administration of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
The reduced numbers have also negatively affected self-sponsored programmes, which were cash cows for universities.
Some of these institutions had rushed to open campuses to satisfy the demand for higher education.
Many are now struggling to stay afloat, with some being flagged by the Auditor General as teetering on the brink of collapse.
University Education will receive Sh112.2 billion, out of which Sh5.5 billion is for development. Some Sh220 million will be spent on general administration, planning and support services.
Research, Science, Technology and Innovation has been given Sh899.9 million but would have received much more.
The National Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee shaved off Sh500 million from the amount requested for recurrent expenditure because the “National Research Fund faces challenges due to non-existence of a fully constituted board”.
The committee also raised concerns over universities’ pending bills amounting to Sh19 billion on account of non-remittance of statutory deductions.
The University of Nairobi tops the list of defaulters with Sh5.5 billion unremitted.
It is followed by Technical University of Kenya and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology tied with a bill of Sh3.5 billion each, Kenyatta (Sh2.7 billion), Egerton (Sh2 billion) and Moi (Sh1.3 billion).
The State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education comes second with an allocation Sh100.8 billion.
Secondary education takes the bulk of this with Sh70.8 billion. The government has in recent years sought to expand secondary education, with more schools being established, although funding has remained static for years.
The funds will also go to support the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schooling policy.
From the allocation, some Sh7.5 billion is earmarked for development. Primary education will receive Sh20.9 billion to be spent on about 10 million pupils.
The department had Sh1 billion slashed from what it had requested for its recurrent budget after lawmakers noted that the number of primary school learners under the National Education Management Information System (Nemis) is 8.7 million.
The request was above the official enrolment. The ministry has unsuccessfully struggled to enlist every learner in Nemis and the reduced funding affect schools.
On the positive side, the votehead had its allocation for development increased by Sh900 million to total Sh3.95 billion. The reallocation was to cater for the provision of desks under the stimulus programme announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta to improve primary school infrastructure.
Quality Assurance and Standards Department has been allocated Sh4.36 billion.
The department, whose chief accounting officer is Dr Belio Kipsang, is expected to spend Sh4.7 billion on general administration, planning and support services.
The State Department for Vocational and Technical Training will receive Sh24.9 billion, with Sh6.3 billion for development.
Technical and vocational training, which has received attention and growth under President Kenyatta, has been allocated Sh22.8 billion.
Some Sh6.3 billion of this will be used for development. That includes building more technical training institutes across the country.
Youth Training and Development will get Sh2 billion and a further Sh131 million spent on administration, planning and support services.
In its report to the National Assembly, the committee faulted the Treasury for delays in releasing funds for TVET.
This delayed the construction of 30 technical training institutes around the country.
Tomorrow in the Covid-19 budget: The billions that will be spent to keep you safe.