Form 1 Reporting: Matatus, School Heads Hatch New Extortion Tricks

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    Form 1 students report to school in Molo, Nakuru County.
  • Parents and guardians have been torn in between the joy of watching their children report to Form One and the pain of paying school fees and purchasing learning materials among other schooling necessities.

    Media has been awash with parents pleas, seeking aid, scholarships and sponsorships for their children while lamenting on the extortionists schemes hatched by schools even as Form One admissions kick off on Tuesday, August 3.

    Students who wrote their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in March this year are currently being admitted to different secondary schools across the country.

    “I am a mother of four and two are reporting to school. I have done my best. At least the form one girl has all she needs. I request you any willing well-wishers to help me raise the Ksh2,500 fee for my 4-year-old son joining Grade 1. 

    Matatus at traffic snarl-up along Waiyaki Way in Nairobi

    “I know times are hard all around and I pray for every single parent that God may open the floodgates of heaven and provide where there is lack,” Lizette Awuor posted in a parenting group on Facebook. 

    Fare Hike Tricks 

    Matatu owners hiked fares, piling extra pressure on parents whose students were travelling. Some of the PSVs tripled the bus fare and also added extra charges for luggage, considering that most, if not all students were travelling with mattresses and metal boxes. 

    Matatu drivers reportedly went as far as hoarding vehicles and alleged that there was a high demand, thus forcing parents to scramble for those available. This more so affected guardians who had not booked buses in advance. 

    “It was expected that the fare would be hiked. Matatu industry is a private sector and cannot be regulated by the government to an extent. Owners feel that such is the time to make extreme profits. 

    “However, some renowned buses have not hiked fares. Nonetheless, these were fully booked weeks before the reporting menace began,” Brendan Marshall, a traffic coordinator and Association of Matatu member told

    Extortion Schemes Orchestrated by Schools

    Some parents lamented that they were under pressure to purchase certain commodities at specific stores under the directive of schools. 

    The said stores charged the items exorbitantly in comparison with other shops. A parent on social media stated that she spent two days in search of a specific tracksuit and resorted to purchasing it at the dictated store. 

    Parents lamented that school heads were extorting them in cahoot with traders.

    This was after they were barred from adding extra costs on school fees and countering directive issued on reduction of fees by including remedial and motivational money. 

    Education CS George Magoha announced that national schools would pay Ksh8,500 less while Extra-County and County schools will pay Ksh5,500 less owing to the Covid-19 pandemic economic shock. 

    “We shall pay fees but we shall not pay additional levies not listed in the fees guidelines,” National Parents Association Chairperson Nicholas Maiyo cautioned guardians from bowing to demands to pay unnecessary levies. 

    "Parents have a free will either to take their children to private or public schools. In private, they must acquire them from the shops but in public, they are provided free," he advised. 

    Education CS George Magoha assess the learning situation at Embu County Primary School on Friday, January 15, 2021

    Bursary issues

    A number of students who depended on bursaries, mostly National Government and County Development Funds (NG-CDF), missed out on scholarships after lists were released. 

    Parents lamented that the lists were doctored to favour certain students thus excluding those who most needed the aid. 

    “It seems my chance has been given to someone else since no one was giving me a proper reason for the removal of my son’s name from the final list,” Johanna Olando, a parent in Migori told a local daily after finding out that his son’s name was missing from the final scholarship list.