Special needs schools receive Sh198 million
The government has allocated Sh198.2 million to primary and secondary Special Needs Education (SNE) schools.
Julius Jwan, the Principal Secretary for Basic Education, announced on Friday that Sh113.7 million was sent to SNE and integrated learning primary schools, while Sh84.5 million was sent to SNE secondary schools.
The funds were released even as primary SNE schools complained that they were financially starved due to the high cost of educating the children.
According to Peter Sitienei, chairman of the Special Schools Heads Association of Kenya (SSHAK), the funds released by the government are insufficient, and the government is underestimating the cost of running the schools.
Mr Sitienei stated that in order to care for the children, the schools require house mothers and fathers, cleaners, and specialized medical support staff, among other non-teaching staff.
He revealed that the average monthly salary for each school is between Sh200,000 and Sh300,000, equating to between Sh2.4 million and Sh3.6 million per year.
Despite this, the government spends approximately Sh655 million per year on basic education for students with special needs.
Under the free primary education program, a total of Sh1,420 is released annually per learner.
In SNE primary schools, an additional Sh2,300 is provided per learner, for a total of Sh3,720 per year per learner.
The government provides Sh 57,974 per year for children with special needs in secondary schools. This is more than the Sh22,244 per year paid to the other students.
Mr Sitienei stated that, while schools appreciate the government’s efforts, the Education Ministry should use a research-based approach to determine how much it costs to educate a child with a specific disability.
According to the association’s president, the government should consider using a differentiated unit cost funding model for SNE schools based on the children’s disabilities.
Visual impairment, physical disability, intellectual disability, hearing impairment, and speech and language impairment are the most common disabilities among students.