Walker Mwandoto @PeopleDailyKe
Parents in Kilifi county say many public schools are demanding higher fees than that approved by the government, defying the directive of the Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matia’ngi’s directives.
The parents complained that a student is required to pay Sh9,374 per year for a student in a day school after the schools get Sh22,244 capitation per student from the government. Instead, Kilifi day schools are demanding Sh26,000. “Principals are charging higher fees but they do not issue receipts as required by the ministry,” said Mzee Kasiwa.
“Many learners progressing from primary school to a public secondary school are being subjected to sit for another examination and/or interview and to pay admission fees, contrary to Education ministry guidelines,” he added.
According to the ministry regulations, a student progressing from primary school to a public secondary school should not be subjected to any interview of examination or make any payment before admission.
In a circular issued last week, Tertiary and Secondary Education Director, Robert Masese said all schools are expected to adhere to the fees guidelines as detailed in the earlier circular on implementation of free day secondary education. “For avoidance of doubt, all national schools and extra-county schools in Mombasa, Nakuru, Nairobi, Kisumu and Eldoret urban centres will charge Sh53,554. Any other boarding school will charge Sh40,435,” Masese said.
However, in Kilifi county, most schools are administering exams and charging admission fees for children joining Standard One.
Moreover, some secondary School Management Boards are holding meetings in posh tourist hotels using school funds. Parents are asking the ministry to intervene and arrest the concerned principals.
Meanwhile, Kilifi South leaders have called upon the national government to disburse early the money President Kenyatta promised Kenyans for free secondary schools education in the country. They are also asking national government to include funds for sanitary towels for girls in the free education kitty.
Led by the area MP Ken Chonga, leaders proposed that the money should be distributed to schools immediately as the schools have started sending back students home due to lack of fees. Last week, the government said it had released Sh29.5 billion for Free Secondary Education. “The government has released Sh7.5 billion for printing and supply of textbooks,” Masese said.
Talking to the press in Kilifi town, Chonga commended the national government for the programme,saying: “The programme will work efficiently if the Ministry of Education will put in place all the mechanisms to ensure that money allocated per student is in the schools accounts before the midterm so as to ensure smooth learning.”
President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto had in May last year in their campaigns announced that the government had allocated Sh5 billion in its budget for use in school infrastructure in the country.
He had said: “The expansion of the infrastructures will enable 100 per cent transition of students from Early Childhood Development Education to Form Four.”
The legislator expressed optimism that the noble programme would increase the admission rate of students in Form One and would be a big relief to parents who struggled to pay school fees due to lack of money and poverty in their families.
In the 2017/2018 Financial Year the education docket was allocated Sh350 billion with Sh14 billion and Sh33 billion going towards financing free primary and day secondary education respectively in the country.