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Schools Defy Ministry Directive On Fees And Unnecessary Items

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Schools Defy Ministry Directive On Fees And Unnecessary Items. Many principals have defied a government directive to reduce admission costs as Form One students begin reporting to their respective schools.This has forced parents to dig deeper into their pockets to cover additional costs.Schools are insisting on purchasing some of the items deemed unnecessary and surplus by the Ministry of Education.Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha warned principals not to overburden parents with long lists of requirements during his speech at the official launch of the 2021 Form One Selection and Placement.The Standard has learned, however, that schools have prepared a long list of requirements, jeopardizing the chances of students from low-income families continuing their education.Exercise books, class readers, novels, photocopying papers, atlases, mathematical tables, hockey sticks, pangas, jembes, slashers, and hand brushes are among the items deemed unnecessary.And, as schools open their doors to First Formers, parents are complaining that they have been asked to purchase some of these items in contravention of Prof Magoha’s directive.“We are committed to ensuring that parents and guardians of learners who will be joining Form One are not overburdened with unnecessary requirements that increase the cost of education,” prof Magoha said.Nearly 1,225,502 candidates who took the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2021 are starting Form One for the first time.The term will end in July after the school calendar was compressed into seven months due to Covid-19 disruptions.While some schools require some of the items and only require uniforms and basic academic materials, some principals have listed the ‘banned’ items as optional.A hockey stick and two pairs of pajamas, for example, were listed as optional items at a national boys school in Nairobi.Some schools are also violating the government’s fee payment directive by requiring students to pay the entire amount before admission.According to Prof Magoha, each student receives Sh22,244 in capitation to cover secondary school tuition fees, with parents responsible for boarding fees.He warned principals not to expel students who had not paid their fees in full.The CS directed schools to follow the fee guidelines, which clearly show how much parents must pay per category of school.“People have lost jobs due to Covid -19 pandemic. If somebody comes with half of the fees, take it and admit the child, then arrange for the remaining fees to be paid,” said Magoha.Indimuli stated that some parents accumulate fees that are eventually not paid, and as a result, at the end of the four-year cycle, the ministry requires them not to hold KCSE certificates due to unpaid arrears.“With that policy by the ministry, I will release the certificate but I will not get the money because once they leave school, you cannot get them not unless you pursue them through the courts,” he said.“That leaves us in problems with suppliers, salaries, statutory deductions and other financial obligations."ALSO READ:Parents complain about exploitation when it comes to uniforms because they are required to purchase them from schools or specific retail shops at higher prices.Meanwhile, bookshops and uniform shops saw a drop in sales, with parents citing tough economic times as the reason.Schools Defy Ministry Directive On Fees And Unnecessary Items 

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