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School heads advise against sending students home for fees

School heads have been directed to discuss modalities for fee payment with individual parents instead of turning children away for unpaid fee arrears.

Central Region Director of Education Sabina Aroni says since the government is catering for tuition fees for learners in both public Boarding secondary schools and public day secondary schools, it is possible for principals to agree on how any other money can be cleared by the parents without having to send learners home.

Aroni, who was speaking to KNA on Wednesday morning, also disclosed that the reopening of schools in the entire Central Region was going well with no reports of unusual occurrences.

“The government is supposed to pay for both boarding and day secondary schools. In day secondary schools, tuition is all the student needs to be in school, which the government pays in tranches. With regard to boarding schools, the parents are supposed to pay boarding fees for their students. However, the principals are guided not to send away students but to discuss modalities with the parents of the children because boarding fees are the responsibility of the parents,” stated the education boss.

She has similarly warned school heads against the practice of arbitrarily increasing school fees, stating that such a decision can only be undertaken with the authority of the Education Cabinet Secretary.

Aroni has therefore directed all school heads intending to adjust fees above what has been set by the government to channel such a proposal to the Ministry of Education on the way forward.

“The government provides that they (school principals) are supposed to seek authority from the Cabinet Secretary (for Education). After they seek the authority, they can increase the fees, but only after receiving the authority,” clarified Aroni.

Parents have been hit hard by the revised school structure since January this year, after the government scrapped the Sh8,000 COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Programme that had been in place since 2021.

While making clarifications on the changes late last year, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the move was due to the normalisation of the school calendar.

He said unlike in the previous year, when schools operated on a compressed calendar resulting from disruptions by the COVID-19 pandemic, fourth-term dates will resume as before.

“From January 23 (2023), we will have three terms the way it used to be before, so the fee structure remains the same as that of two years ago,” Machogu said while speaking at Wajir High School on November 23 last year.

“Anybody saying the figure has been changed, that is not here in Kenya. Changing school fees would need another task force,” he said.

According to a circular from the Ministry of Education, parents are now required to pay Shs. 53,554 for national schools and extra-county schools located in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nyeri, Thika, and Eldoret.

Learners began reporting back to school on Monday this week after a 14-day break.

According to this year’s school calendar issued by the Ministry of Education for pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools and colleges, the third term was to officially begin on August 28 and run until October 27, 2023.

Learners who will not be sitting for the national exams will then break on holiday until January 8, 2024.

At the same time, Grade Six and Standard Eight candidates will sit their Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams, respectively, from October 30 to November 2, 2023.

This term will also mark the last cohort of KCPE students under the 8-4-4 system, which has been replaced by the 2-6-3-3-3 Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations, on the other hand, will begin on November 3 and run until November 24, 2023.

According to figures from the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), about 2.3 million candidates are scheduled to sit for this year’s KCPE and KCSE examinations.

At least 1,415,315 candidates are expected to sit for the KCPE exams, while an additional 903,260 students will sit for the KCSE papers.

By Samuel Maina

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