MPs Up In Arms Over Halting Of Medical Cover For Public Secondary Schools

In a recent session, the Ministry of Education faced scrutiny from the National Assembly Committee regarding several crucial programs affecting public secondary schools. Led by Malulu Ijendi, the Education Committee expressed particular concern over the termination of the EduAfya program, which previously provided health insurance to students in public secondary schools.

Basic Education Principal Secretary, Bellio Kipsang, addressed the committee, stating that all students would now benefit from a universal healthcare program mandated by the Social Health Insurance Act of 2023. This announcement comes as a response to the discontinuation of the EduAfya program, leaving parents and educators apprehensive about its potential impact on students’ well-being.

During the session, Kitutu Masaba MP, Clive Gisairo, raised concerns about students who were receiving treatment abroad under the EduAfya program. The Ministry clarified that parents were advised to seek alternative coverage and that efforts were made to facilitate the return of students who wished to come back to Kenya.

The EduAfya program, operational since 2018, offered comprehensive medical insurance coverage to students in public secondary schools registered with the National Educational Management Information System (NEMIS). A report from 2019 indicated that over 600,000 out of 2.7 million learners had sought medical attention under the cover, highlighting its significant impact.

However, with the termination of the EduAfya program, the decision has left parents and educators grappling with uncertainties regarding students’ healthcare access.

In addition to the EduAfya program, the Committee also sought updates on other key initiatives, including the School Meals Programme (SMP). Dr. Bellio Kipsang noted that the budgetary allocation for SMP had steadily increased, reaching Sh4.9 billion in the 2023/2024 financial year. The government has pledged further funding increases to reach 4 million learners by June 2024, with a long-term goal of extending support to 10 million students by 2030.

Regarding the Low-Cost Boarding Schools program, which targets students in marginalized areas and those facing cultural challenges like FGM and early marriage, MPs learned that the initiative has been constrained by a stagnant budget of 400 Million Shillings over the past five years. Committee members emphasized the need for increased funding to accommodate a growing number of students and expand the program’s reach to urban areas with vulnerable children.

Overall, the session highlighted the importance of addressing gaps in essential programs impacting the well-being and education of students in public secondary schools, underscoring the government’s responsibility to ensure access to quality healthcare and educational support for all learners.


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