William Muli

AccountabilityEducation

Govt to effect full free day secondary learning in January

sch-pic

The government has scrapped the Sh9,374 school fees which each student in public secondary schools has been paying per year, paving way for complete free day secondary education starting January 2018.

Announcing the new directive in a circular on guidelines for the implementation of free day secondary school education, Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said that the government will pay the subsidy.

Read more on Daily Nation.

read more
AccountabilityEducationHealth

Kariobangi South Primary School: Parents complain over payment of outlawed fees

kariobangi

The parents of a Nairobi school are up in arms over what they termed illegal charges, including examination fees. The management of Kariobangi South Primary School has been accused of charging Sh800 examination fees, contrary to Ministry of Education regulations. They say the institution also demands tuition fees and money for computer lessons from the pupils. They say children are sent home when they fail to pay the charges.

This article was published at the Standard Media.Read full article at Standard Media.

read more
Accountability

THE EAST AFRICAN BRIBERY INDEX 2017

EABI-IMAGE

Many Kenyans are forced to pay a bribe to access key services. According to the East Africa Bribery Index (EABI) 2017, Kenyans would pay a bribe to access Police Services (68.8%), Land (55.1%), Judiciary (48%) and Civil Registration Services (45%). The Index reaffirms that bribery is still a key concern in the region with 83% of Kenyans describing the level of corruption as high compared to Uganda at 81%, Rwanda 61% and Tanzania at 44%. The survey recorded a reduction of bribery incidents across the region from majority of the respondents seeking public services. It however identified the Judiciary, Land and the Police Services as institutions most affected by bribery across the region.

The East African Bribery Index

The East African Bribery Index (EABI) is an annual survey that seeks to record bribery experiences of citizens in public service delivery. Since 2010, the survey has been carried out in the five East African countries; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. In 2017 the survey was not carried out in Burundi due to security concerns. The public services surveyed by the index include security services (the Police), Judiciary, Medical and Health Services, local (county) government services, utilities (water and electricity), registry and licensing services (Civil Registration and Business Licensing) education, Tax and Land Services.

KEY FINDINGS

Aggregate Index: The Kenya Police Service was ranked the most bribery prone institution in Kenya with a score of 83 followed by the Judiciary and Land Services at almost half the score; 44 and 41.7 respectively. The Police had an increase of 15.3 points while the Judiciary and Land Services shaved 2.7 and 13.3 points respectively. The least bribery prone institutions ranked were Tax Services (12.9) and Huduma Center (10.7)

Likelihood of Encountering Bribery: Majority of the respondents interacting with the Police (68.8%) and Land Services (55.1%) were asked (implicitly and explicitly) or offered to pay a bribe to access the services they were seeking followed by 48% and 45% interacting with the Judiciary and Civil Registration respectively. The least likelihood was recorded at Tax Services and Huduma Centers as 18.4% and 12.6% of respondents reported being asked (implicitly and explicitly) or offered to pay a bribe.

Prevalence of Bribery: The survey recorded the highest probability of paying a bribe at the Police in Kenya at 41.6% followed by a 23.6% chance at Civil Registration, and 19.6% chance at Land Services. The least probability was recorded at Huduma Centres (7.6%), Educational Institutions (7.9%) and utilities (5.9%). It is worth noting that there was a significant drop in prevalence at the Police and Tax Services by 30.1 percentage points and 22.6 percentage points respectively.

Average Size of Bribe: The highest size of bribe was recorded at the Judiciary at Ksh 14,083 (USD 1351) followed by 12,360 Kenya Shillings (USD 119) paid at Tax Services and 8,956 Kenya Shillings (USD 86) paid at Land Services. The survey indicates an increase in the size of bribe across the board compared to the 2014 survey, save for the Police which recorded a 28% decrease.

Share of ‘National’ Bribe: Bribes paid at the Police accounted for a third of all bribes reported while cumulatively Educational Institutions and the Judiciary accounted for another third. Bribes paid at Tax Services and Huduma Centres accounted for 2% and 0.6% respectively of all bribes paid. There was a 14-point decrease in share of bribes paid to the Police. Bribes paid at the Huduma Centres accounted for less than one percent of all the bribes paid.

Projected Change in Level of Corruption: Citing lack of punishment of persons involved in corruption and lack of Government’s commitment in the fight against corruption, 47% of the respondents believed corruption would increase in the coming 12 months, compared to 51% who held a similar view in 2014. 40% of respondents felt that corruption cases were still rampant while 30% felt that no action was being taken against the corrupt. In 2014, majority of the respondents (64%) listed inaction against corrupt persons as the reason they felt that the government was not committed to the fight against corruption.

Anti-Corruption Performance of State and Non-State Actors: The government’s commitment to fight corruption was put to question. The President, Office of the Auditor General and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission were rated as average while the Judiciary and legislature scored lowly. These findings further reinforce the citizens’ belief that the government is not doing enough to fight corruption. On the other hand, the media and religious institutions’ performance was rated as good while civil society and citizens were rated as average.

Individual Role in the Fight Against Corruption: When asked about their personal initiative in the fight against corruption in the past 12 months, 55% indicated they had not done anything, with 45% indicating various actions they had undertaken. 26% said they refused to take bribes, 10% discouraged people from taking bribes while only 3% spoke openly against corruption.

Summary Recommendations

Strong Institutions of Governance: The report recommends the need to strengthen the capacity of various institutions of governance to deal with the pervasive problem of corruption. It is imperative that they have a clean bill of health to enhance public confidence in their ability to play their part in combating the vice.

Strong and Consistent Action Against Persons Implicated in Corruption: Citizens strongly recommended the prosecution of individuals implicated in corruption as the most important thing to be done in the fight against corruption. The next step therefore needs to involve the expeditious adjudication of corruption related cases to demonstrate action against persons implicated in corruption.

Integrity Management Mechanisms at Institutional Level: As a first line of dealing with corruption, institutions should be encouraged to set up internal integrity management initiatives. This could include setting up complaint resolution mechanisms for citizens to report any bribery incidents they encounter or service delivery charters outlining the services offered, amount of time taken and fees charged to access the services among other initiatives.

Digitisation of Services: Institutions should consider digitisation of various services to reduce service transaction times as well as cut off chances of bribery at all levels. As the survey indicates, Huduma Centres which offer digitised services, recorded the least bribery incidents.

Next Steps

The East African Bribery Index is a snapshot of corruption in the region. To understand the extent and scope of corruption in an institution, TI national chapters and partners in East Africa be sought to conduct an institutional integrity study to identify systematic weaknesses that may predispose an institution to corrupt practices. TI national chapters and partners in the five East African countries welcome partnerships with public institutions aimed at comprehensively identifying and strengthening internal systems and procedures to curb corruption.

Methodology:

The East African Bribery Index 2017 survey was conducted in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda between January and March 2017. Data was collected through face to face interviews with 9,533 respondents in the region including 2,398 respondents in Kenya. The respondents were picked through simple random sampling based on the population size across the various administrative units in each country.

The Transparency International chapters in the region are part of the autonomous chapters of the global Transparency International movement that are all bound by a common vision of a corruption-free world.

Please download the EABI 2017 full report for more details.

read more
Education

Education Sector Policy Brief #1

A4T Img

Enhancing the Ability of Citizens to Monitor the use of Public Resources

Introduction

The advent of Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003 not only increased enrolment rates in public primary schools but also meant that all tax paying Kenyans would share in the responsibility of educating our children regardless of whether one has a school going child or not. As a result, Kenya’s budgetary allocation for the implementation of FPE has steadily increased from Kshs. 5.4 billion in 2003 to Kshs. 14. 1 Billion in 2015. This constitutes an average of 6.4% of GDP (or 17% of the annual budget).

Kenya herald a new legal regime in August 2010 with the promulgation of the current Constitution. The new legal regime is centred on transparent, participatory and accountable use of public resources. The right of citizens to access information held by the state is provided for under Article 35 and is further buttressed by the Access to Information Act 2016 which gives effect to Article 35 and confers on the Commission on Administrative Justice the oversight and enforcement functions and powers in ensuring its implementation. Public participation is provided for under the Constitution as one of the national values and principles of governance in addition to being one of the objectives for the adoption of the devolved system of governance. The Constitution further provides for public participation as one of the principles of public finance in addition to responsible financial management and clear fiscal reporting.

The Bill of Rights also recognises education as an economic and social right. To give effect to the provisions of the Constitution, the Government enacted the Basic Education Act 2013 and the Regulations of 2015 which incorporate participatory, transparent and accountable legal frameworks. Among the principles enshrined under the Act include: Accountability and democratic decision making within the institutions of basic education; Promotion of good governance, participation and inclusiveness of parents, communities, private sector and other stakeholders in the development and management of basic education; and, Transparency and cost effective use of educational resources and sustainable implementation of educational services. The Act further provides for the establishment of Boards of Management and Parents’ Associations which also have a role in the management of public primary schools.

It has however been established through successive audit reports that funds utilization at public primary schools has been wanting with reported irregularities in the procurement of textbooks and outright disregard by some managers of public primary schools of government policies and legislation. Poor and inadequate infrastructure for schools has also been identified as a challenge in public primary schools within Nairobi County.

Approaches and results

Transparency International Kenya has with the partnership of other organisations and the support of development partners implemented various initiatives in the education sector to track the flow and utilisation of public resources. The findings in this policy brief are as a result of implementing studies in targeted institutions, engaging stakeholders including public officials and the general public on issues affecting the education sector. These studies have mainly focused on flow and utilisation of public resources in Nairobi, Kwale, Kisumu and Trans Nzoia Counties and protection of land belonging to public learning institutions in Nairobi and Kwale counties.

Among the programmes implemented in this regard include the Action for Transparency (A4T) project piloted in Embakasi sub-county within Nairobi County aimed at empowering citizens to monitor the use of public resources at public primary schools and report suspected mismanagement of funds. The project makes use of a set of secure tools including carrying out a Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) to collect financial information from public primary schools for dissemination to the public through the use of mobile and web based platforms.

PETS is a process used to track the flow of resources through various strata of government in order to determine how much of the originally allocated public resources reach each level. A PETS tool is designed to study the flow of public funds across various levels of administrative units with a view of identifying the sources of revenue, any leakages in flow of funds and utilization at the institutional level. The use of PETS helps in identifying hidden sources of revenue, identify leakages in flow of resources and determine instances of misappropriation of public funds meant for development.

Within the land sector, TI-Kenya has engaged in initiatives aimed at securing public land belonging to public schools. This has been made possible through a network of organisations known as ‘Shule Yangu’ Alliance.  The Shule Yangu Alliance for the protection of public schools is a nationwide campaign by stakeholders from the Government, Public and Private sector working together to protect public schools against illegal land-grabbers, support the government to issue title-deeds to public schools, and support communities to own their schools.

TI-Kenya also engaged stakeholders within the education in accessing information in relation to utilisation of public funds and safeguarding public resources at the schools. Among the stakeholders engaged include the management at the schools including head teachers, Boards of Management, Parents’ Associations and the sub-county and county officials.

Summary of findings

The findings discussed in this policy brief cover three general areas of concern including: public participation and involvement; resource flow and utilisation of public resources including public land belonging to learning institutions; and the role of school programmes in enhancing Constitutionally recognised national values.

Public participation and involvement

It was generally established that public participation and involvement in the affairs of public primary schools is accomplished through the Boards of Management (BoM) and Parents Associations (PAs) as per legal requirements. It was however noted that these groups are not adequately capacitated to effectively participate and contribute to the affairs of the schools especially in relation to utilisation of public resources. At the centre of the lack of capacity for effective participation is the inadequacy of information necessary for the public to be involved in the development affairs of the schools. School managements have grappled with the need to fully involve management committees and parents in the development process but this has largely been hampered mainly by the following factors:

  • Inefficient accounting systems which rely on manual processes that are time consuming and prone to errors;
  • Poor book keeping practises which make it difficult to retrieve required information and present information in a presentable and easily accessible manner;
  • Lack of administrative support staff especially such as school bursars to handle accounts and advice BoMs on prudent use of funds received by the schools;
  • Inadequate ICT infrastructure for record keeping and dissemination of information relating to the schools to the management committees and other stakeholders including parents and development partners;

The study has established that there is a data gap on expenditure at school level. The scarcity of information and its inaccessibility to the general public produce opportunity for corruption. Without comprehensive financial data it is not possible to have any civilian oversight. Public participation and involvement in affairs of the public is a Constitutional requirement which is supported by the legal framework for the education sector establishing Boards of Management and Parents’ Associations involved in management of learning institutions. To effectively ensure that the participatory legal framework works out, the need for access to information is paramount.

Resource flow and utilisation

School managements confirmed that the system of disbursing money directly to schools is generally effective. However, the study established that the most common challenge in disbursements from the government is the delay in funds remittance which sometimes takes up to two months after schools have opened. Further, the findings indicate that various education stakeholders including the Ministry of Education officials were questioning the use of money by schools especially on the high recurrent costs for purchase of textbooks.

The study established that some challenges resulting in vulnerabilities of the schools to mismanagement of funds include:

  • Poor record keeping, poor accounting systems and procedures;
  • Community/parents limited commitment and capacity to monitor and control the use of school funds;
  • Weak supervision, accounting and monitoring systems, and lack of effective auditing and supervision;
  • Inflexible budgeting process in recognition of the different needs at different schools leading to inadequate funding;
  • It was also established that other sources of funding for the schools in addition to the Free Primary Education funds from Government are not properly recorded and accounted for;
  • Infrastructural failures at majority of the schools that do not inspire confidence in the education system by both the learners and other stakeholders involved in identifying skills useful for different sectors;
  • Delay in disbursement of funds from Government was identified as a challenge in effective utilisation of resources and coordinated development activities at the schools.

The efficiency of the education sector was also brought to sharp focus in view of the amount of resources dedicated to the sector which do not correspond to the quality of services.

Promotion of national values

The National Values enshrined under Article 10 of the Constitution are not generally reflected in the primary, secondary and tertiary curriculum and practices at learning institutions. There has however been marked improvement in entrenching some of the values under the Constitution in learning institutions especially in relation to creating governance structures which allow for students’ participation. Existing courses and programmes have however been found to fall short in the following areas:

  • Fostering nationalism, patriotism and promoting national unity;
  • Recognising diversity of skills and talents and promoting the progressive identification and mentoring of talents;
  • Establishing effective mentorship programmes in professional and social spaces;
  • Promoting novelty, innovation and self-reliance where learners are able to identify the importance of intellectual ownership;
  • Promoting transparency and accountability in management of learning institutions

Policy Recommendations

The government through the Ministry of Education Science and Technology should put in place deliberate measures that aim at ensuring that there are transparent and accountable management processes in learning institutions with adequate measures for public participation and involvement.

Use of ICT for school management

ICT has been identified as a key enabler in the efficient and effective delivery of services. This study recommends the roll out of a web based school management system that shall incorporate the financial management issues and the academic reporting systems of the schools. To increase access, the system should be accessible both on desktop computers and on mobile phones.  This would enable head teachers maintain up to date books of accounts, reduce the demand for auditing of schools and increase accountability.

Capacity building

The Constitution and other enabling laws in the education sector provide for a participatory legal framework centred on the participation and involvement of management committees and parents’ associations in the management of learning institutions. The BoMs and Parents’ Associations need enhanced capacity building to effectively take up this mandate and also incorporate the participation of the greater public in managing affairs of learning institutions.

There is need to develop participatory mechanisms and sensitise citizens including parents so that they may effectively play their oversight role in the provision of Free Primary Education. This includes sensitization on provisions of policies and provisions in legislations such as the Basic Education Act, 2012. Parents and guardians also need to be sensitised on their legal obligations in ensuring that they promote the right to education for their children. This includes their role in providing pupils with conducive social environment for upright upbringing, provision of school implements including uniforms and sending pupils to school.

Needs based budgeting

The study recommends a review of the budgeting process at the schools to include a standardised needs assessment of all public learning institutions. A needs assessment spearheaded by the management committees and the sub-county education officials will be useful in determining the infrastructural needs of all schools which may be quantified in monetary terms and the allocations for funds adjusted to reflect the needs of particular schools. This assessment should inform the allocation of funds under the GPA account on the Repairs, Maintenance and Infrastructure vote head which have generally been found to be inadequate.

Timely release of FPE funds

The National Government through the National Treasury should ensure timely release of funds meant for the provision of FPE services as delay in the release of funds affects the quality of services offered at the schools and relations with suppliers. To mitigate the challenges faced with delayed disbursements, respondents recommend the disbursements of funds to the schools during the holidays to allow proper planning and expenditure of the funds as the terms commence.

Enhance accounting and audit systems and processes

The study also recommends that Sub-County Education departments should have the capacity to conduct audits in the schools under their jurisdiction through a continuous monitoring process that enables supervisors at the sub-county level execute timely remedial measures. Government policy should make the Sub-County Education Boards more active in monitoring public service delivery in public schools especially in relation to utilisation of FPE funds and general management of learning institutions.

read more
Accountability

Fight corruption with a single click

A4T app

Action for Transparency is a pioneering project that fights corruption and mismanagement of government funds by putting the power to change in the hands of citizens.

Using a mobile phone with Internet access, anyone is able to check the amount of government money pledged to each school and health clinic – and the amount actually spent. If you don’t have a smartphone, the same application can be used from any computer (actionfortransparency.org).

ZA education Pic GPESarah Beeching 2
Doughlas Buule, teacher, was forced to buy chalk for education for his own money. Picture: GPE/Sarah Beeching

Do you want to check how much money the government is supposed to spend on your children’s school? Download the app – or go to the website – and click on your school to see the sum officially budgeted for it as well as other useful information.

You may find that the amount pledged for your school does not match with reality. For instance, is there only one teacher even though the Government says it is funding five? Are there no schoolbooks even though the government has budgeted for one book for each pupil?

Armed with this information, you can report any suspected corruption straight into your mobile phone. Your report will be published immediately on the Action for Transparency website and on Facebook. Related projects and reports will be and possibly featured on the Transparency International’s website. If you don’t have access to the Internet, it is also possible to report using sms or calling a hotline number.

ZA Hospital Pic Albert González 2
Many hospitals do not have the resources to provide patients with proper treatment. Picture: Albert González

The app, websites connected to it and the Facebook site will also provide a digital space for informed debates about corruption and misuse of tax payers’ money. The debates are open to everyone who wants to contribute including human rights activists, citizens, politicians, journalists and civil servants.

Thousands of journalists, civil society activists and civil servants are being trained to access, assess and communicate information on government budgeting, primarily using online sources to improve understanding of government budgeting processes. How much is intended for schools and health clinics? And how can the system be improved, providing more resources to schools and health clinics? And how can suspected corruption be tracked?

Using the app, Facebook and the virtual network created in the project, the trained journalists, civil society activists and community leaders join in a public awareness campaign. The aim is to fight corruption and mismanagement of public funds for schools and health clinics and to ensure that tax payers’ money reaches the people it is intended for: the teachers, school children, doctors, nurses and their patients.

read more