MPs have rejected a Bill that seeks to reintroduce the provision of free milk to school children under a multi-billion shilling State-funded scheme.
The programme would have distributed free milk in public primary and pre-primary schools in a bid to encourage pupils to stay in school.
But the National Assembly’s Education committee rejected proposals that would have ushered in the return of the tiny packets of milk popular with school children during the Nyayo era.
The scheme popularly known as Maziwa Ya Nyayo programme was cancelled after it proved too costly and unsustainable for successive governments.
The Basic Education (Amendment) Bill, 2020 sponsored by Nominated Senator Beatrice Kwamboka sought to compel the national government in consultation with county governments to provide milk to learners enrolled in pre-primary and primary schools.
In rejecting the Bill, the National Assembly’s Education committee cited lack of a budget for the programme and the risk of it derailing the current school meals programme— which targets low-income areas, particularly in slums.
“In seeking to provide milk for learners, other school meals would be affected owing to budgetary shortfalls,” Florence Mutua, who chairs the committee, said.
Also Read: 10 Most Improved Schools in KCPE 2021
Also Read: List of Top 10 KCPE 2021 Candidates
The committee advised against passing the Bill unless a policy on provision of free school milk is introduced.
The Bill proposed that the distribution of free school milk be handled by county directors of education.
The Bill will now be returned to the Senate with amendments and should the Senate fail to agree with the National Assembly, the proposed law will be referred to mediation.
Returning it could have cost the Treasury Sh1 billion weekly to provide 250ml packet of milk daily to the 8.3 million students enrolled in Kenya’s nearly 24,000 schools.
This would have grown to Sh36 billion annually, an expenditure that would have proved burdensome to a government grappling with rising expenses and worsening debt service obligations.