- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
As Education CS George Magoha clarified on whether students will be forced to repeat classes or not, another question from worrying parents on repayment of school fees sprung up.
Magoha, on Thursday, April 2, informed Kenyans.co.ke that as of yet, the ministry had not made a conclusive decision on the welfare of the students, including those sitting their examinations. He further allayed Kenyans' fear by informing that after the disease is controlled, the calendar can be readjusted and the curriculum carries on with the effects of COVID-19 in mind.
However, the discussion centred around school fees adds more weight on the Education Ministry, with different bodies deliberating on ways to handle the situation, after schools were closed and students sent home by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday, March 15.Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha speaking during the special meeting held by the EACC on March 10, 2020.
A report by the Standard on Saturday, April 4, stated that parents are urging schools to reimburse some of the money paid before the outbreak of the disease. The parents lamented about the harsh economy, with employees being laid off and several industries shutting down. They pointed to the fact that the fees paid in the first term would not be fully utilised.
"We still had about four weeks to go and we had paid to have the children get meals from the school until the last day. What happens when schools reopen? Do we pay again? The best thing will be to advance them for the next term when classes resume” a parent at St Mary Sportsview Academy in Kasarani stated.
The National Parents Association Vice-Chairperson Sarah Kithinji argued that schools closed almost a month earlier and they would have to interact with Magoha's docket for further directions.
"We have lost a month in which we had paid for everything including tuition. We have not engaged the Ministry of Education but I hope that when we do, they will agree to give a reprieve equivalent to the time that we lost," Kithinji stated.
The report further detailed that schools may fail to refund parents as there are no stipulated measures for refunding or deferring of school fees and some schools have regulations opposing such a measure. Some of the schools also went on to teach children online, indicating that classes are still on.
"At this point in time, we cannot really say what will happen or what won’t happen. It is difficult to say what exactly will happen because we don’t know when the pandemic will end. However, assuming it comes to an end sooner rather than later, the school term had not ended and we still had some three or four weeks to go so we will proceed from where we left.
"In the event that it takes longer than expected then the calendar dates will have to be reorganised which will require different stakeholders to engage and see how best we can organise our calendar events to accommodate the challenges that have been caused by this pandemic," Private Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndoro informed.
Efforts to contact CS George Magoha and Education PS Belio Kipsang were futile. However, Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Indimuli Kahi stated that they were analysing the situation.
"The government said we first close for 30 days as they monitor the situation and that period is not over yet so it would be premature for me to comment. We are waiting for those days to end and see the development. If the situation does not improve then we will sit as a sector and look at the challenges we will be facing," Kahi stated.Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha (second from right) and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai pictured at the special seating held by the National Assembly's Committee on Education on February 26.
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