Parents Clear Your children’s school fees before sending them back on Monday, Principals tell parents

The school heads said non-payment of fees is costing schools heavily and that they have accumulated huge debts owed to suppliers.
Public boarding secondary schools now want the Ministry of Education to compel parents to pay their children’s fee balances before the end of this term as the institutions are facing a cash crunch.

The school heads said non-payment of fees is costing schools heavily and that they have accumulated huge debts owed to suppliers.

The Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) chairman Kahi Indimuli yesterday said schools, especially the boarding secondary institutions are in a financial crunch and are unable to run smoothly because of the huge fee balances amounting to millions of shillings.

“Parents must take their responsibilities and clear the pending fee balances to enable schools heads to effectively manage and run schools,” said Mr Indimuli

The Saturday Nation has learnt that in some schools, the total fees arrears are as high as Sh20 million. On average, the majority of schools have a minimum of Sh5 million as fees balances.

Five years
The fees balances are dated back to over five years. Some of the arrears are for students who completed Form Four and left before paying.

To recover the fees balances left by already cleared Form Fours, schools used to withhold their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) certificates, but the ministry issued a directive to school heads to release the documents to all students regardless of the fees balances they have.

For the boarding school parents, they are required by the government to pay for their children’s food and boarding charges.

The government pays Sh22,244 per annum for each student as tuition as part of the free secondary funds.

For category A schools which are national schools and extra-county schools in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nyeri, Thika and Eldoret, parents are required to pay Sh53,554 annually.

Parents whose children are in category B boarding schools and extra-county schools are mandated to pay Sh40,535 annually while Special Needs Secondary Education schools parents are required to pay Sh12,790 annually.

Covid-19 pandemic
However, Mr Indimuli said, while school heads acknowledge the current economic situation in the country caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, some capable parents have taken advantage of the Ministry of Education directives and have neglected their duty.

“Schools are only having a few percentage of parents clearing the fees balances with the largest percentage failing to clear while others send their children to school without fees,” said Mr Indimuli.

He added that since schools opened last October, the majority have been managing the funds sent by the ministry as capitation to run schools, which is not enough.

He said, currently, most of the principals are relying on suppliers’ goodwill, hoping they shall pay them when they get funds.

In boarding schools, schools need funds to buy food, pay matrons, caterers, watchmen and cooks.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, schools need funds to buy disinfectants, sanitizers and protective gears for workers engaging in health hazard jobs.

Speaking to our team on Saturday, Kaya Tiwi Secondary School Principal Mr Robert Aran said the total fees arrears is now at Sh4 million. The school has a population of 1,200 students.

Capitation
Mr Aran said the fees balances are for students in Form One to Form Three who are currently in schools. He said the Form Fours also left a huge balance which the school doesn’t know how to recover.

“The government has been doing a good job ensuring that schools get capitation every term but parents are failing to play their fee payment roll,” said Mr Aran.

Kisii School principal Fred Mogaka asked parents to clear their fee arrears when sending their children back to school after midterm which began on Thursday and ends on Monday.

“I wish to note that fees payment has improved, however, some parents have not cleared fees for this term. To avoid embarrassment and inconveniencing your son, please clear all the school fees arrears,” said Mr Mogaka in the newsletter sent to parents.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha is on record asking schools not to charge extra fees or send students home for school fees

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