School across the country are grappling with a biting cash crunch that is slowly degenerating into a full-blown crisis.
Principals have have already sounded the alarm, with a letter to the Ministry of Education requesting that schools be supplied with enough grain from the National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) at an affordable price in order to cope with the high cost of living.
Speaking to the media, the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) Chairperson Indimuli Kahi noted that the move would help alleviate the situation in schools.
As it stands, various learning institutions are unable to run effectively due to the cash constraints that have pushed their budgets beyond limits.
Further, the state has to cope with fee balances from parents who are unable to pay the arrears due to the cost of living.
“Every time you ask a supplier for a product, the prices keep going up. At the moment, Kessha cannot advise principals to increase fees, as it’s an illegality and against Ministry of Education guidelines,” Indimuli told Nation.Africa
He added that the situation may get worse if the government doesn't come up with an ultimate solution that will cater to both the parents and the schools.
He pointed out that boarding schools were mostly affected due to the high cost of fuel, electricity and food.
A principal based in Embu County affirmed that they had to cut out meal rations and stop offering tea breaks in a bid to cope with the situation.
"For the first time since I became a principal, we’re closing school with the highest debts owed to suppliers. Worse still, there’s a mismatch between what the students owe and the debts we owe creditors,” the principal stated.
Early Learning and Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan however, confirmed that the Ministry was in talks with the NCPB in order to avert the looming crisis. He, however, urged school heads to work around the fee arrears together with parents.
"Principals need to negotiate with parents on payment of fees. There’s no question about [that]. The government covers tuition expenses and parents should meet the cost of boarding and meals,” he noted.
The current academic calendar consists of four school terms with the final two terms to be covered within five months with only a few breaks in between.
Schools are set to close by Friday, July 2 when the first term ends.