Auditor reveals missing Sh4b for CBC classrooms

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 01:01 | By
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO/Pirnt
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO/Pirnt

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has revealed that a whopping Sh3.99 billion which was channeled towards the construction of Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) classrooms cannot be accounted for.

In her latest report for the 2022/23 Financial Year, the Auditor highlights various anomalies in construction of the classrooms, including queries about pricing and poor workmanship.

Gathungu also questions how the State Department for Basic Education spent Sh1.6 billion on scholarships.

Report also reveals that upto 7,340 Grade Seven learners did not receive any capitation amounting to Sh110.1 million due to inadequate data.

In 2022, the National government announced that it intended to construct 10,000 CBC classrooms under the schools infrastructural development programme to facilitate its 100 per cent transition policy to secondary schools.

Report questions how the thousands of classrooms constructed under the programme were priced.
It in particular raises queries regarding how the State Department settled on Sh709,398 as the standard cost of a single classroom across the country given that bills of quantities and results of market surveys were not provided for audit.

Further, it also states that the terrain and topographical layout of the schools across the country varied and therefore it was not possible to have a standard rate.

“Management did not provide explanations on the specific procurement method that was used and how the various suppliers were identified. Similarly, there was no evidence that the prices had been adjusted for inflation to reflect the current market rate for acquisition of construction materials. The standard amount of Sh709,398 allocated was not sufficient for construction of a classroom of the required standard,” the report.

It adds: “In the circumstances, the value for money for the construction of CBC classrooms amounting to Sh3,997,687,865 could not be confirmed.”

Report also questions the quality of workmanship of the classrooms, noting that physical verification of a sampled 215 secondary schools in 27 counties revealed that they were constructed within two weeks which was not sufficient to allow concrete curing, adding that the potential strength and durability of concrete was not fully developed.

The short construction duration and insufficient funding, the report says, resulted in poor quality of the constructed classrooms.

“At the time of the audit, the sampled schools had poorly constructed classrooms, with floor cracks and deep holes. The floor in some of the classrooms had completely come off, exposing the soil beneath. As a result, students had to learn in classes that had a lot of dust, exposing them to health hazards,” the report.
Report also shows the existing classrooms in most of the sampled schools had a ceiling and tiles or terrazzo on the floor. Physical verification revealed that in some sampled schools, the management utilised their own funding to ensure they constructed classrooms that matched standards of the existing classrooms.

“ln addition, the audit revealed that 30 out of the 215 sampled classrooms were not in use as at the time of the audit. Interviews with schools’ management indicated that the schools had adequate classes for their student population. In some instances, the classrooms had been converted into stores,” notes the report.

On capitation, the report regrets that learners in Junior Secondary School (JSS) did not receive capitation amounting to Sh110.1 million due to data that was not provided for the exact number of students who should have benefited from the funds.

State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education, the report says, is to blame for the anomaly, as it did not ensure the data used for JSS capitation was verified by the respective sub-county offices before disbursement of funds.

The sub-county offices, the report says, would have ensured that all students are captured by one National Education Management and Information System (Nemis) for funding.

“However, 187 out of the sampled 312 Junior Secondary Schools had students that did not receive capitation. The actual enrolment of the 187 JSSs was 29,653 learners. However, they received capitation for 22,313 learners, leaving 7,340 learners without funding,” the report.

Report also raises concern that Nemis as configured did not have a cutoff and updates students on a continuous basis, making it difficult to confirm the number of students at a specific time.

It also regretted that there was congestion in Grade Seven classes, with some classes having between 80 and 100 learners, a number way above the required 45, resulting in high pupil to teacher ratio and negative effect on teacher-student engagement.

“Similarly, the schools did not have science laboratories. lt was also noted that the system does not register students without birth certificates and does not fund students over 18 years.

On scholarships, the report says various anomalies were noted in the disbursement of the Sh1.6 billion including unsupported transport payments to students, scholarship allocation disparities, failure to recognise and report assets and lack of value for money on procurement of consultancy services.

On unsupported transport payments to students, the report states that while for each term, every student is supposed to travel four times including opening day, mid-term (to-and-from) and closing day, a review of the expenditure schedules provided revealed that transport payments to 12 sampled students for five terms, three in 2022 and two in 2023 appeared inflated as the transport per travel ranged between Sh4,755 and Sh7,715.

The inception report by the Associate Director of Equity Group Foundation (EGF) dated 15 November,2022, EGF provides transport funds to the beneficiaries at a standard rate guided by the distances covered by the student from their homes to the nearest Equity Bank Branch, and to their schools during opening days, midterms and closing days termly.

For each term, every student travels four times: opening day, midterm (to-and-fro) and closing day.

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