Kenya: Clear School Fees, Ministry Tells Parents

29 October 2020

The government has urged Kenyans with children in boarding schools to clear fee balances, a reversal of an order on heads not to send learners home.

School managers have been complaining about operating without money since the partial reopening two weeks ago.

Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said despite the financial problems Kenyans are going through due to the negative effects of the Covid- 19 pandemic, parents should fulfil their obligations.

"We are only asking for the boarding fee," Dr Kipsang said after the launch of the Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB) 2020-24 strategic plan yesterday.

"Children in boarding schools need meals, water, electricity and other services."

He added that parents should not view this as a burden as it is the transfer of the cost they were incurring to keep children at home.

"Whatever it is that parents were spending on their children should be transferred to schools by paying fees," Dr Kipsang said.

"School fee is dynamic. Every school has its way of dealing with parents."

Early this month, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha told Kenyans that they should not fail to take their children to school.

Financial difficulties

"Principals should ensure no child is sent home because of fees, whether in private or public school," Prof Magoha said.

Since last week, head teachers have been complaining of financial difficulties in running schools since the government has not released funding for second term and learners in boarding school have not cleared fees.

The government provides tuition fee while parents are required to pay for boarding.

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) chairman Kahi Indimuli said most learners have not paid fees.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult to run schools without money," Mr Indimuli said.

Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association (Kepsha) chairman Nicholas Gathemia said the government should explain how free primary education will succeed when schools have no money.

Mr Gathemia added that the Sh1,470 per pupil released to the schools is not enough for necessary operations.

"Low cost boarding schools are straining to meet their needs as the government has not given them money since we reopened. Head teachers are worried. What will happen if the trend continues, especially when all the other children report to school?" he asked.

Only Form Four, Standard Eight and Grade Four children are in school.

Dr Kipsang said the government is ready to roll out Grade five in 2021.

Teaching materials

He added the competency based curriculum books have already been printed and are being distributed to schools.

KLB Managing Director Victor Lomaria said the publisher's books have been approved.

"We have supplied and distributed more than 50 million learning and teaching materials to public schools under the centralised book distribution scheme," he said.

Dr Kipsang said plans for full reopening of schools remains on hold.

"We are studying the behaviour of the disease. Once it reaches a stage where we are sure our learners are safe, we shall communicate to parents. But the decision will be advised by the Ministry of Health," he said.

"Currently we are not in a hurry as the Covid 19 pandemic spike, those classes that had not opened shall remain closed until government makes a final announcement," he said

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