Public schools re-open from Monday for the first term as the Government sets the stage for a review of the curriculum.
On Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto asked secondary school heads to stop charging extra fees outside those specified and approved by the Ministry of Education.
He also warned that disciplinary action will be taken against school heads who will defy the directive.
Parents at the weekend complained against the sharp rise in school fees and high prices of text books with Kenya Parents Association boss Musau Ndunda naming some of the schools he said had raised fees arbitrarily.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang has also pledged that the ministry will release free and subsidised secondary education funds on time.
“We will release the funds on time so that we do not inconveniences school heads in running of the schools,” said Dr Kipsang.
SH32.9 BILLION SET ASIDE
The government provides Sh1,420 for each pupil in a public primary school every year while a public secondary school student is allocated Sh12,687. The money is paid out in three tranches, one for every term.
This financial year, Sh32.9 billion has been set aside to cater for the 2.34 million students in secondary schools while another Sh14 billion will be used as capitation for the 8.9 million pupils in public primary schools countrywide.
Schools receives 50 per cent of each child’s allocation in the first term, 30 per cent in second and 20 per cent in third term.
Another Sh3.4 billion is set to be used to register Standard Eight and Form Four candidates who will be sitting for the national examinations at the end of the year.
Speaking in Kilifi on Sunday, Mr Ruto said that the government was already paying for some of the services that schools were charging parents for. He asked headteachers to stop immediately.
“The Government has set aside funds for every child in public schools so parents should not be burdened with extra fees,” the Deputy President said.
He directed the Ministry of Education to investigate cases where headteachers are forcing parents to pay extra fees and take action against them.
He gave the order after parents in Kilifi County complained to him that some schools in the region were demanding extra fees from parents.
“Parents should no longer pay exam fees for students sitting for class eight or Form Four exam,” Mr Ruto said.
The Saturday Nation exposed a scheme in which heads of secondary schools levy funds for county and sub-county education boards, holiday tuition, membership of the headteachers association, academic performance, tea and water.
In a statement, Gwassi MP John Mbadi accused the government of failing to reduce the cost of education by allowing headteachers to fleece parents of millions of shillings.
“It is difficult to understand how headteachers, who are employees of the National Government, can unanimously decide to ignore their employer and unilaterally raise fees across the country,” said the ODM chairman.
“The Government must come out and state whether the so-called fees guidelines it issues are policy documents or just political manoeuvres meant to hoodwink parents and buy short-term political support.”
HIGH COST OF TEXT BOOKS
Parents are grappling with an increase in the cost of textbooks and school fees. For instance, Huruma Girls in Nairobi is asking parents to pay Sh68,570 per child on top of the Sh12,870 that the government pays to subsidise secondary education for each child.
St Joseph Kitale is charging Sh10,000 for PTA and Sh10,000 for education improvement in addition to Sh60,256 school fees.
In the gazetted structure, the government is to provide Sh12,870 per year per student in regular schools and Sh32,600 in special needs schools.
The maximum amount that parents are required to pay is Sh9,374 in day schools, Sh53,553 for boarding schools and Sh37,210 for special needs schools.
Schools are required to spread the fees in the ratio of 50:30:20 for the three terms in a year.