“In 2007, I was the very first one to propose a debate that for our youth from nursery to primary, up to Form One to Form Four, we would pay their fees. Therefore, NASA’s plan of providing free secondary education started in 2007 when I was vying for presidency.”
–Nasa running mate Kalonzo Musyoka in Kapsabet on June 4, 2017
Did Kalonzo promise free secondary education before Jubilee?
The question of who was first to promise free secondary education has been the topic of discussion, with Jubilee accusing the National Super Alliance (Nasa) of copying their agenda for Kenyans, and vice versa.
The matter came to the fore as the official campaign period kicked off, a review of media reports and political party manifestos by Nation Newsplex shows.
On May 6, 2017, President Kenyatta said that the government had allocated Sh5 billion in the budget which would be used to improve infrastructure in schools, so as to ensure 100 per cent transition of students from early childhood education to Form Four.
At Kisii Stadium on May 17, Nasa, through Kalonzo Musyoka pledged to introduce free secondary education once the alliance got into power. “I want all parents of Kisii and the entire Kenya to listen. The Nasa Government will ensure free tuition from (Standard One) to Form Four. No parent will be pushed again. We must educate our children,” he said.
The President would later, on various occasions, accuse the opposition of hijacking his government’s pledge without having thought through the planning process needed to make such a pledge a reality.
In June 2016 at the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association’s Annual National Conference in Mombasa the President said the government was “working towards making secondary education fully free in the next three years.”
Business Daily reports on November 15 and December 24, 2007, and Daily Nation on October 15 the same year show Mr Musyoka, as the Presidential candidate for ODM Kenya did indeed propose free secondary education at the time, as did Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki, who were also candidates for the presidency at the time.
So how much would free secondary education cost? Currently, in the 2017-2018 financial year, the education docket was allocated Sh349.9 billion, with Sh14billion and Sh33billion going to financing Free Primary and Day Secondary Education respectively.
A Taskforce on Secondary School fees that was chaired by Dr Kilemi Mwiria concluded that to assure fully free day secondary school, the government would pay a capitation grant of Sh23,975 per student.