A secondary school in West Pokot is on the spot after a Form Two student quit learning saying he had been sent home several times to get school fees and had finally decided he could not handle more embarrassment.
Mathew Kibet, who until a month ago was a student at Kapenguria Boys High School, said he was not able to raise the fees as his parents are poor.
On Tuesday when the Nation met him at Karas village in Kapenguria Ward where he is staying with his grandmother, Kibet was unsure what will become of him after he quit school.
He said his parents, who have separated, are not able to take care for him.
“My mother does meagre jobs to make a living,” he says adding that his father fell into alcoholism and has never been interested in his learning.
The boy said he decided to go collect his belongings and leave the school for good on Monday, almost a month after he was kicked out for failing to pay fees that has accumulated to Sh109, 902.
Kibet, who sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination in 2016 at George Kendagor Christian Academy scoring 325 marks, said he had spent most of the time over the past two years at home after being sent away from school.
“I took my belongings and left the school. Nothing has been paid for me at the school. I have been determined to learn but it has become difficult for me. I don’t want to continue being in the shamba (farm) while my friends are learning,” said a dejected Kibet.
A video of him leaving the school on Monday with his belongings has gone viral on social media.
He said he was embarrassed after being kicked out of the school every time he went back without money.
He said his desk has been kept in the school’s store, thus making him unwanted.
“I did not have anywhere to sit. I had no choice but to leave. I am hopeless now,” he said.
His 70-year-old grandmother Sara Kendagor said they were unable to pay the required school fees.
“The boy came to me after he was sent away by his father after their house was recently torched by bandits,” she said.
The school’s Principal Moses Ndenda confirmed that the boy had not paid fees and had been asked to get the money for him to continue with learning.
“The records show that he has a huge fees balance and he was asked to go home and bring the money. We have no problem with him if gets school fees,” said the principal.
County Education Director Jared Obiero said that most students in the school have huge fees balances and that the learning institution is struggling due to lack of money.
“I have been given a list of ten students who have been sent home for having fees balance. There are 220 students in the school having fees balances of Sh80,000 each. We can’t blame headteachers for sending students home because it is difficult to run a school without money. Where do they get money to buy food for them?” asked Mr Obiero.
He said those students who are unable to pay school fees should go to day schools where the government pays fees for them.
“The government is paying Sh22,000 for those students in day schools. The fees for Kapenguria Boys is Sh58,000 per year. We should not bash headteachers for nothing, yet students have an option to go to day schools,” he said.
The government pays tuition fees for all students in high schools including those boarding and day schools. The amount was recently increased to Sh22,000 for each student.