A lot has been said about the education system in Kenya. The introduction of free primary education in 2003 was received with mixed reactions across the country, UNESCO, (2005). The government’s task force reported that the implementation of the program was faced with a number of glaring challenges that required to address. Delays in the disbursement of funds to support free primary school education have frustrated many teachers and put financial pressure on parents.
According to UNESCO, 2015, the mismanagement, misallocation and embezzlement of funds by corrupt government officials is another challenge facing free primary education in Kenya.
Since privately-ran schools do not benefit from free primary education, they are faced with the challenge of students missing school due to lack of tuition fees; but not in the 14 schools in Gatina and Kangemi area where parents have the liberty of supplementing their children’s school fees with Sarafu-Credit. A teacher offering tuition on a Saturday morning would accept between 10% and 50% of payment in Sarafu-Credit and the rest in Kenya Shillings. A school such as Sifa School located in Nairobi’s Kawangware area accepts at least 100 Sarafu-Credit for every Ksh. 1000 paid as school fees. Sifa School has not only been accepting part of its school fees in Sarafu-Credit, it has also being using this form of community currency for salary advances to its teachers since October 2014. This arrangement has seen less students miss school due to lack of National currency while enabling teachers to get access to advance payments in Sarafu-Credit.
Accumulated Sarafu-Credit is traded back in the community for fruits, vegetables and other basic needs; while the vendors in turn use the Sarafu-Credit received to supplement their children’s school fees. Excess Sarafu-Credit is exchanged back for Kenya Shillings each month.
At Grassroots Economics, we believe that every child has a right to education hence we have a role to play in ensuring that our next generation of leaders have access to education.