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Schools Reopening: CS Magoha warns School Administrators against Increasing School Fees

Cabinet to the Ministry of Education Prof George Magoha has warned headteachers against violating fee guidelines. This was after a parents’ association revealed complaints about high school fees charged by schools.

The Kenya National Parents Association said that some of their members had complained that national schools had set fee structures for Sh. 80,000 instead of Sh. 53,554 per year. Other schools demanded extra charges like Sh. 1,500 for the motivation of teachers.

Schools are citing the improvement of infrastructure, the purchase of items to protect learners from COVID-19 lie sanitizers, and other expenses as justifying the need for the extra charges.

CS Magoha said that school administrators should not send learners home for fee arrears when schools reopen this coming Monday.

Government to disburse funds

The CS revealed that the government has allocated Sh. 19 billion to schools and the disbursement when the treasury releases the money.

“No child should be sent home over school fees. We have Sh. 19 billion that will facilitate free education for both primary and secondary schools and this money shall be sent to schools by next week,” said Prof Magoha while touring as he assessed the preparedness of school for reopening in Murangá.

The CS also revealed that Sh. 14 billion is allocated for secondary schools while Sh. 5 billion is allocated for primary schools.

Schools have already sent fee structures and messages to parents as schools closed this December, asking them to ensure they have cleared fees arrears for the first and second terms, which shall start from Monday.

Yesterday, the Kenya National Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo told the media that he has received complaints from parents regarding schools increasing school fees.

Mr. Maiyo said that some schools have asked students to pay an additional fee of Sh. 1,500 for teachers motivation while some national schools have set their school fees up to Sh. 80,000 which is quite some increase from the previous Sh. 53,554.

“We are currently engaging the concerned schools and we shall be compiling a list of schools that will flout fees guidelines and report them to the Ministry for action,” he said.

Mr. Maiyo said that parents are ready for the reopening of schools and urged parents to clear school fees saying that this will boost schools’ ability to keep learners safe.

Guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education

The fee guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Education indicate that learners receive Sh. 22,244 each per year from the government. Learners in public schools and public secondary schools are not required to pay any extra fees.

On the other hand, pupils in primary schools receive Sh. 1,420 each per year from the governments’ capitation.

For category A, secondary schools (involving national and extra county schools) in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Thika, Nyeri, and Eldoret, parents are needed to pay a fee amount of Sh. 53,554.

The government adds Sh. 22,244 for each student and this takes the amount per student to a sum of Sh. 75,798 yearly.

Category B boarding and extra county schools in other areas also receive the Sh. 244 government subsidy and parents pay a sum of Sh. 40,535. the total school fee per year is Sh. 62, 779.

However. Mr. Maiyo said that the association can only fight fee increment in public schools but not private schools.

“If private schools have increased their fees, parents shall have to talk to the schools as we only speak for public schools,” said Mr. Maiyo.

Teachers’ Unions’ Position Regarding School Fees

The Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary – General Wilson Sossion yesterday implored parents to pay as is required by the government.

“In order to ensure learners are safe, parents have to support schools by paying school fees,” said Mr. Sossion.

The KNUT Sec-Gen urged the government to release school funds before schools reopen on Monday to assist Principals to prepare for the reopening of schools.

On the other hand, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers Secretary-General Akelo Misori also asked the government to release school funds and urged parents to pay school fees.

“Schools require funds to ensure that COVID-19 health protocols are observed,” said Mr. Misori.

Several secondary school heads have revealed that it will be impossible to manage schools without funds.

Day-scholars are required to pay lunch fees as learners are not allowed to go for lunch from school.

“We have directed that no child from any private school should be denied admission in any public school.

The CS said that the government has done everything necessary to facilitate the reopening of schools after all learning institutions were closed in March to mitigate the impact of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Ministry of Health COVID-19 Measures

The CS Education has admitted on numerous occasions that social distancing is going to be the elephant in the room. This is because there are not enough classes that can accommodate learners as stipulated in the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health.

Prof Magoha urged teachers should be innovative and explore other options necessary such as outdoor learning to reduce congestion in classes.

“If the weather allows, students should move out where there is more space and take their lessons,” said Magoha.

The CS castigated leaders who have been of opposing opinion regarding the reopening of schools, saying they just want to create unnecessary confusion.

 “Those who are intending to keep children at home can do so for their own reasons but learning has to continue,” added the CS.

Prof George Magoha said that children will be required to put on masks and added that the government has masks available in stores and that they shall be distributed to the needy students.

“The masks shall be given to children who are in the most vulnerable areas and whose parents cannot afford to buy for them,” said the CS.

Examination Centres For Children Whose Schools Shut Down

The CS also revealed that the Ministry of Education shall provide guidelines for candidates who have moved from the examination centers on how they will sit for the coming national examinations.

Prof Magoha reiterated that the national examinations will proceed as scheduled, adding that some people are intending to sabotage the exercise.

“There are some cartels who want to frustrate this exercise for their reasons but this will not happen under my watch,” he said.

The CS said that students who are expectant should go back to class until their time to deliver is due.

“Even those who have been married off, we want them back in schools but they have to be handled with care by both parents and teachers,” added Magoha.

The CS also revealed that the Ministry of keen to pay special attention to children with special needs, whom he said will need more care.

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