Schools Withholding KCSE Certificates Despite Government Directive
Several young people from low-income families are missing out on life-changing opportunities as a result of schools seizing their certificates.
Mitaboni Girls Secondary School in Machakos is on the spot for withholding the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) certificate of a 38-year-old since 2002.
Mary Karuga, 38, completed her KCSE in 2002 and received a C according to Daily Nation. She had lofty goals of furthering her education and alleviating her family’s poverty.
Her dream, however, would be cut short when the school administration withheld her important document over fee arrears.
After posting her plight in a social media group, she received a well-wisher who offered to clear the arrears in January 2022. After 20 years, she finally received her certificate last week.
Several principals disobeyed a government order issued by the Cabinet Secretary for Education in July 2014.
The order required all secondary school principals to release all KCSE certificates that were being held illegally.
Philip Mong’are, 28, who works as a small poultry farmer and a shoe seller in Kisii could not join the General Service Unit recruitment (GSU) in 2018 as he could not provide the KCSE certificate withheld in school.
“People ask me why I’ve not found my better half. I always laugh it off, but of late it is becoming a serious issue. How do I marry if I do not even have a means of sustaining my life? The little I get sustains me and my siblings.” Says Mong’are.
The government directed schools to release all KCPE and KCSE certificates in 2014, but she was still unable to obtain hers until she pays the Sh16,000 fee balance owed to the school.
KNEC Act of 2012 which stipulates that: “The function of the council shall be to award certificates or diplomas to candidates in such institutions and that such certificate and diplomas shall not be withheld from the candidates by any person or institution.”
Despite the directive’s existence, a lack of policy and enforcement has resulted in many learners being denied their certificates.
When reached for comment, Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan stated that the directive is still in effect and must be followed.
“We understand it is a catch 22 situation and we encourage negotiation between principals and parents. The principals need the money to take care of the food and boarding needs…
“In extreme cases of principals withholding certificates, we write to the Teachers Service Commission requesting action to be taken.”
Kahi Indimuli, the chairperson of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association, agreed that principals should follow the directive and release the certificates. He, on the other hand, wants the government to be specific about the time period covered.
“In some cases, a former student comes even after 10 years to claim their certificate. Most of them, during this time, are doing well in life but still do not want to clear the arrears just because of the directive,” he explained.
According to reports, several Kenyans have raised concerns and reported cases of their certificates being withheld by schools, with some claiming that the government has failed to take action.
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Schools Withholding KCSE Certificates Despite Government Directive.