Parents Raise Concern Over School Reopening Extortion Schemes, Asks Government To Intervene

It’s a rush of times for parents as they figure out ways and means to raise the required fee before the school reopens on Monday, July 26. After nine days off, studies have resumed.

Four school terms have been squeezed in the 2021-2022 calendar years to make up for lost time during the nine-month Covid-19 pandemic that has disrupted the learning cycle.

Parents have taken offence with schools adopting creative ways to levy extra fees without justification.

Nicholas Maiyo, chairperson of the Parents Association, told that school heads were coining extortion money from parents, to name a few, such as remedial and motivational funds.

He said the parents were extorting thousands of money for the charges.

“A school in Makuni asked parents to pay Ksh8,000 for money they call curriculum development and we are very aware that the curriculum was created by Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD).”

He said the money cannot be audited and is probably going into the pockets of individuals.

New CBC Books

Some parents could not understand why class one students needed many books costing thousands.

KTN News anchor Lindah Ogutu reveals that she had to buy books worth Ksh8,597 for her grade one child.

“Ksh8,000… for grade 1 books… Which country wants to adopt me? I’m tired,” she wrote and was supported by other parents who were facing the same situation .

Other requirements in the new curriculum include a first aid kit, magnifying glasses and a cornucopia of other items needed to get through the word.

Mayo explained that private school parents had to pay more because the institutions did not have the new competency based curriculum (CBC) books.

He said, “Parents have free will to take their children to private or public schools. Privately, they have to get them from shops, but in public they are provided free of cost.”

Reduction in school fees

On July 22, 2021 Education CS George Magoha announced a reduction in school fees due to the short nature of the 2021 school calendar.

He announced that national schools would pay Ksh8,500 less while extra-county and county schools would pay Ksh5,500 less.

“I want to make it clear that primary schools and secondary schools are free in terms of any fees, it has to be sanctioned and voluntary,” he said.

However, parents noted that these cuts were only announced in the media, but on the ground, school heads usually came up with additional fees, which usually rolled the fees back up to the original figures.

Many parents had dues from previous terms, schools informed the learners that they would not be given back admission without payment of dues as well as new term.

Warning to school heads.

Magoha on Saturday 17 July warned secondary school heads not to send home students with outstanding fees.

He advised parents with dues to speak to their school heads and request more time for payment of dues.

“Every child should be taken to schools. The child does not have the ability to say that they will not go to school,” he reiterated.

However, Magoha urged the parents to be responsible and organize themselves according to the new dates of the school.

The government has already disbursed Ksh59.4 billion to secondary schools and Ksh15.2 billion to primary schools for the year 2020-2021.

School Heads Take

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kesha) president Kahi Indimulli earlier lamented that parents were taking advantage of Magoha’s order and failing to pay the student’s school fees.

“Principals are facing tough times because without funds, it is literally impossible to feed the learners and meet their boarding requirements,” Indimulli said.

He said that the schools are dependent on the fees paid by the parents to run most of the operations in the schools.

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