The Bungoma South District Music festival for primary schools began on 5th June at Bungoma DEB Primary with some delay due to lack of funds to sponsor the event by the region’s District Education office and the heavy rains experienced in the region.
Cleophas Mukhonyi,the chairman of Bungoma South Music Festival coordinator said that unlike last year, today the event has experienced some challenges especially the delay in disbursement of free primary education funds.
“This event is funded by the Ministry of Education through the District Education Office but so far we have no funds to cater for it because of the current delay in realizing the money. This has also caused delay in schools’ registration to participate in the festival and targeted time for it to kick off,” Mr. Mukhonyi said.
Despite the challenges, Mr. Mukhonyi hoped the festival would be a successful one like in the past observing fairness to ensure highly competitive schools proceed to another level.
At the start of the festival, an average of 20 private and public schools had already registered to take part in it as the host defending champions, Bungoma DEB Primary hope to clinch on their position. Last year they were the top provincial school in Western and fourth nationwide.
Tobias Khisa, the school’s headmaster said that despite stiff competition witnessed at the national level, there are some incidents of unfairness in favor of some schools by the presiding judges maybe due to influence from ‘somewhere.’
“There are high standards of fairness at lower levels but come at the national level where there is high competition; the most competitive schools are locked out of the race without genuine justification by the presiding coordinators,” he said.
However Mr. Khisa proudly appreciated both his school and Nzoia Sugar Company Primary School for clinching the fourth position and winning the Celtel Award in last year’s national music competition respectively.
Somebody sleeping on work at Treasury in releasing FPE funds. Mr. Khisa noted that free primary education system was initiated some 10 years and so far it has not experienced such challenge of delay in the disbursement of this money.
“The government’s role of releasing free primary education funds is not a yesterday’s system instead it was adopted now 10 years ago and has never been affected by such delays. There must be somebody sleeping on work at the Treasury causing such devastating conditions in many schools.” Mr. Khisa said.
At Bungoma DEB Primary the condition in offering education to a large population of 2,800 pupils was getting worse forcing parents to come in by buying chalks, desks and other essential needs for the school.
The subordinate staff has been mounting pressure on the headmaster to pay them for their services but his persistent promise for them to wait a little for the government to release the money has turned into a boring song.
“The members of subordinate staff are working at their own will after vainly promising to give them their dues immediately the Ministry releases the money. They even wanted to tool down their tools but we cooperatively came up with an internal programme with parents to raise funds to pay them a little,” Mr. Khisa said.
The delay in releasing free primary education has affected both secondary and primary schools in the nation and the teachers’ move of striking this week was supported yesterday by the Kenya Publisher’s Association who demand 8 billion shillings from the government for supplying textbooks to schools.
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