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Meru school principal decry fees arrears

Students who scored high grades in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) at Meru School, including A (plain) and A (Minus), have for the last three years left the school grappling with debts due to millions of monies they owe it through fee balances.

Despite Principal Rutere Mwenda leading his teaching and non-teaching staff in celebrating stellar performance by the 414 boys who sat the examination in 2023, on the other hand decried fees arrears left behind by the students saying chances of recovering were minimal.

He owed this to the fact that the majority of students at the institution come from vulnerable families who had not been able to settle fee arrears running into over Sh20 million for the last three years.

“The 2023 class alone left arrears totaling to Sh5.7million. Even if we were to recover this, we cannot get more than 10 percent of it and this tells you how we end up struggling with debts since the expenses have already been incurred by the students,” said Mr Mwenda.

He said the fact that over the years they managed to recover about 10 percent of the arrears had put the institution in a difficult financial position, with 2, 200 students to feed, among other operational costs.

But he said the school has devised an internal ways of survival including an alumni that contributes money to pay school fees for the neediest students.

“We have always had a way of getting out of the woods but this compromises things like development projects or repairs in the institution,” said Mr Mwenda.

Once the examination is done, he added, it becomes very difficult to get the arrears paid since the contract is between the student and Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the fact that the Ministry of Education requires us to release students’ results slips once the examination results are out.

We try to survive in one way or another. We have the alumni who try to assist us and other small income-generating projects that help us raise fees so that we do not end up sending any students home. One of the boys who got A plain, we had to go for him from a day school because he had dropped (from Meru School) and he ended up doing very well here,” he said.

In the 2023 KCSE exams, 22 students from the school got straight As. The school attained an 8.9 mean score.

By Dickson Mwiti

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