Bumpy start for free day school learning

People Daily Team @PeopleDailyKe

The enhanced government day secondary school programme faced the initial test yesterday during the official roll out as schools across the country were left grappling with teething challenges.

Some national schools, notably Starehe Boys’ Centre in Nairobi, have openly protested against the admission of day scholars, arguing that the school is handling some challenges it has already discussed with the Ministry of Education.

The school is one of the national schools targeted to accommodate boarders and day scholars. Starehe director, Charles Masheti said currently, the school has 280 students enrolling in Form One and was not likely to take any more. “We have more than 280 students we are admitting into Form One as borders.

Therefore, if we exceed this number by allowing day scholars, we are likely to face serious challenges,” he said during a spot check as admission kicked off across the country yesterday.

The Free Day Secondary Education programme was met by mixed reactions. While parents in some parts of the country welcomed the government’s move to reduce school fees, others protested the extra cost they incurred procuring additional items they were asked to buy for their children.

In parts of Nyanza region, some parents were relieved with the government’s move to reduce school fees and provide free textbooks for learners. They termed the provision of text books a noble step in making sure parents and guardians do not have to struggle with both payment of fees and buying of textbooks.

And even as the government provided a set of six text books for every student, many parents protested the extra cost on additional items they were asked by schools to buy. As other schools embraced the two-category student admission, similar challenges were reported but with optimism that measures put in place will handle the situation.

At State House Girls, the school Principal Joan Muoti said despite the day schooling programme being new, the institution was prepared to deal with the challenges it will pose.

She told the People Daily there is going to be a challenge with the new programme since the school was not used to students coming in and out, but measures were already in place to deal with the situation.

“We were not used to students coming in and out of the school but we are up to the task. We have already put in place security measures where we will have all day scholars screened through a biometric system before they enter and leave the compound,” she said.

At Jamhuri High, the School Principal, Alfred Awuor confirmed that around 250 students, half borders and the other half day scholars had reported by last evening.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who visited the school urged students to get down to work now that the government was providing text books and reduced school fees.

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