Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has urged school principals not to send away students for fees but instead negotiate with parents on how to settle fee balances.
He reiterated his earlier assurance that the government would disburse tuition fees to all secondary schools next week and urged principals to retain all students in school irrespective of whether or not they will have cleared their fees.
Prof. Magoha said this at Barani Secondary School in Malindi town where he presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of three Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) classrooms. He was accompanied by Basic Education Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Juan.
Prof. Magoha urged principals to be considerate as most parents had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. “Do not send a Kenyan child home. If the parent comes with Sh4, 000 and the balance is Sh10, 000, take the Sh4, 000 and agree when he is going to bring the Sh10, 000, unless you know where Coronavirus came from and you know when it will end,” he quipped.
The CS’ sentiments give some relief to parents, who have been worried over the frequency of paying school fees following the crash programme in the education sector to compensate for time lost when schools closed for about nine months due to the pandemic. Some parents have lamented that they would not be able to raise third term fees for their children when schools re-open next week.
Prof Magoha however asked the principals to identify parents who are unwilling to pay despite being able to and send their children away for the fees. “If you have evidence that the child’s father is a big shot in town but instead of paying fees, they spend most of their time in the bar, by all means send their children home,” he told the principals.
At the same time, Mr. Magoha asked school administrators to be vigilant and flush out any unruly students before they burn school property, adding that arson in schools was the work of sadists. “If you identify a small group of students who want to go home, let them go. This nonsense of trying to burn schools because you have not been reading, you have been on drugs and now you want to burn the school so that everybody else suffers is sadistic,” he insisted.
Prof. Magoha said the government would not be deterred by the action of a few unruly students, noting that out of the more than 10,000 secondary schools in the country, only between 50 and 100 had been affected by arson.
“I do not condone indiscipline in my life and I am not about to condone it now. Any child who is bold enough to put fire either in his father’s house or in his own house, or in a public house, that one is a criminal,” he said.
On the construction of the CBC classrooms, Prof. Magoha assured contractors that they would be paid on time to be able to complete phase one earlier than the April 2022 deadline given by the President and start phase two by May 2022.
By Emmanuel Masha and Merceline Ngumbao