October School Reopening: Parents Anxious About Increased Charges

  • a
    Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha assesses Grade 3 learning at Joy Town Special School in Thika in September 2019
    File
  • Parents across the country have grown anxious fearing increased charges after Covid-19 Education Response Committee settled on Monday, October 19 as the school reopening date.

    Speaking to the press on Sunday, September 20, Kenya Parents Association Chairman Nicholas Maiyo urged the government to review fee guidelines arguing that parents had depleted their savings.

    "Most Parents lost their jobs in March and May, and may not be able to raise the second term fees. The government should review fees guidelines. We are in very difficult times," Maiyo told Daily Nation.

    Several parents also feared that fee charges would be increased in public and private schools as parents would be required to add facemasks as well as hand sanitisers to their children's budget. The government, which vowed to distribute two masks per learner, pegged the charges per mask at Ksh35, money parents would be expected to pay.

    Students pictured during a lesson.
    Students pictured during a lesson.
    File

    The parents cited hardships from toughened economy as a result  of the Covid-19 pandemic that saw them deplete their savings as some got laid off from their jobs.

    They also claimed that the timing was not favourable arguing that October was so close and gave them a very small window to prepare financially as well as psychologically.

    "The cost of taking the children back to school is too high. We need adequate preparation. It is not just about the fees. There are many other incidentals.

    "We simply don't have money to take children back to school. So many people have lost their jobs and businesses are failing. Is there a school which will accept children without fees?" A distraught parent posed.

    Besides school fees, parents are expected to foot fees for admission, school uniform, development, transport and for reference materials such as the bible, atlas, dictionary and hymn books.

    One school in Nairobi charges Ksh1,000 annual PTA, Ksh1,000 (annual diaries charge), Kshh1,700 (primary insurance fees), Ksh3,000 (caution money), Ksh1,000 (maintenance fee), Ksh1,500 (activity fee ) and Ksh2,500 for snacks.

    For public schools, the state pays Ksh22,244 annually for every student in secondary and Ksh1,420 for a primary school pupil.

    As of July 2020, CS Magoha revealed that the state had already disbursed 50% of the annual Ksh55.4 billion for free day secondary education and Ksh13.4 billion for free primary learning.

    The Education committee, which is set to present its proposals to CS Magoha on Monday, September 21, offered two recommendations for school reopening.

    In the first proposal, the committee recommends that only form four and form three students as well as class eight, seven and grade four pupils should report on October 19.

    In the second proposal, the committee suggested that the entire student population be allowed to return to school on October 19 in one go.

    CS Education Prof George Magoha while releasing 2019 KCPE results at Mitihani House in Nairobi on November 18, 2019
    CS Education Prof George Magoha while releasing 2019 KCPE results at Mitihani House in Nairobi on November 18, 2019
    Simon Kiragu
    Kenyans.co.ke