School meals. Learning institutions have started selling food stuffs that may be rotting away in stores.
School meals. Learning institutions have started selling food stuffs that may be rotting away in stores.

Schools have started disposing perishable commodities in a move aimed at preventing massive losses. With uncertainties continuing to rock the education system, as to when schools would really reopen, the institutions have seen it fit to sell food items that may otherwise rot in stores.

At Nambale Boys High school, for instance, the administration has put up maize grains, sugar and rice for sale.

“Hello everyone. Due to the long vacation occasioned by COVID 19 Nambale Boys’ School is disposing the following items on the first come first served basis: 90Kg sack of maize at Ksh. 2500, 50 Kg sack of Sugar at Ksh. 5000 and 50 Kg sack of rice at Ksh. 3700,” reads an advert from the school.

Most schools had bought enough stock to last them the whole of 2020. But, schools were closed in March when the first cases of Covid-19 were reported in the country.

It is estimated that millions of bags of food items are decaying in school stores due to the prolonged closure of learning institutions.

Education Cabinet Secretary has since pushed the reopening of all basic learning institutions to January next year.

Some schools have opted to distribute the food stuffs to their BOM teachers and staff; with the latter going for months without salaries, now. Maralal, Naikarra and Maasai Girls High school are some of the institutions that have either sold the items or distributed them freely to their staffs.

With pockets of BOM teachers running dry, one teacher decided to auction his school’s bull to rtecover his pay. Joseph wandera (a teacher at Indangalasia school) sold the school’s 3 bulls to cover his salary till December 2020. Wandera’s bold decision was necessitated by the fact that the school had not paid him his salary for 3 consecutive months.

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FREE EDUCATION FUNDS

The Ministry of education has since promised to work-out a formula for cushioning the BOM employees.

Meanwhile, school heads want the Education Ministry to release second term fee; under the Free Education Programme, FPE. Through their umbrella union, the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA), the heads say schools need funds for necessary day-to-day operations.

“It should not be assumed that schools have no bills to settle when learners are at home. The money for schools was budgeted for and should have been released by now,” KESSHA Chairman Kahi Indimuli told the media, this past week.

Already, Kakamega County Senator Cleophas Malala has sought for answer,s from the Senate Education Committee, on what the government is doing to cushion the affected teachers and staff.

“Am seeking for a statement from the standing Committee on Education concerning the disbursement of Government capitation funds to schools and the measures put in place to cushion teachers employed by schools’ Boards of Management and Non-teaching staff during the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya.” Says the Senator.