Parents and students heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday after Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed extended deadline for mass registration of primary and secondary school students.
Amina said the ministry’s digital platform — National Education Management Information System (Nemis) — would remain open for learners yet to secure their birth certificates which has been reported as the main challenge.
The deadline for registration expired on March 31. But it has emerged that some schools in Coast region had collected thousands of shillings from parents as fees to register children. In some schools, parents have paid between Sh200 and Sh300 for their children to be registered under the online student identifier system.
According to a parent who sought anonymity for fear of his children being victimised, the fee is allegedly meant to cater for Internet and secretarial services.
“We were asked to pay Sh200 for each child so that they can be registered. But we have come to realise that not all schools in Mombasa charged parents for the registration,” said the parent. However, many other schools in region have not registered all children because of lack of or poor Internet connection.
The schools mainly include those in remote areas of Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River and Lamu. Head teachers in Mombasa also raised similar concerns, saying most schools do not have Internet connection adding that it is costly to upload students data into the system.
Makande Girls School principal Munira Abeid said validation and uploading of the details is a major challenge because of the high number of students.
“We are forced to move from one cyber cafe to another to enable us upload the information on time, but since the exercise requires a lot of time, we are forced to wait for the information to upload,” she said.
Mombasa County Registrar of Persons coordinator Peter Mutua said his office has managed to process more than 10,000 birth certificates since the exercise began in February.
He said his office has been receiving about 800 applications per day since February while more than 5,000 are still pending. Yesterday, the usual long queues witnessed at the offices since the exercise started continued, with parents crying foul over slow pace at which birth certificates were being issued.
“Though there have been delays in processing the certificates, we are committed to ensuring that we deliver on the pending applications after our work force was increased to help us beat the deadline,” said Mutua.
Some parents, who are yet to receive their children’s birth certificate, decried that the exercise is marred with corruption with brokers issuing fake documents.