Parents are feeling the pressure of having to pay school fees for the fourth time in a year.
As schools reopened today, parents said, apart from paying the required fees, some schools were demanding extra money to cater for tuition classes. Others decried the high costs of books and school uniforms.
Some said other schools had imposed extra levies on parents, citing the need to expand infrastructure to accommodate the increased number of students as a result of the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary level.
The extra charges are channelled in special development school accounts or sent to the parent representatives, who then send the amount to the class teacher.
At Mugoiri Girls High School in Murang’a County, each parent is required to pay Sh5,200 for a new school bus project, Sh3,000 per term for extra tuition, and Sh1,500 for installation of smart screens in all classes.
In Nyeri town, Purity Karuga, who was shopping with her Form Three son, said their school had demanded an extra Sh10,000 for an infrastructure upgrade.
“It is a hard year, and that happens even as we are earning peanuts from our tea farms this year,” Ms Karuga said.
Peter Kamaru, another parent from Murang’a County, said parents have now resorted to borrowing money from shy locks who demand repayment in a month.
“I have obtained Sh40,000 at a 25 per cent interest rate to pay fees for my three children. This is punitive to the parents who have lost hope of accessing bursary from the CDF,” he said.
Jane Wanjiru said the schools have reopened, but most parents had no school fees. “We shall plead with principals to allow our children for some time.”
The Murang’a County government said it had released Sh20 million to finance 3,000 students under the Nyota Zetu Education Programme.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the programme is designed to help the needy access quality education.
“This is one of the programmes designed to increase the number of professionals in the county,” said Iria.
In Meru County, Margaret Nkatha, a parent from Tigania East, said they were looking forward to the reopening of the schools but they lacked financial resources.
She said the drought had hit the area affecting their main income-generating stream, khat or miraa sales.
Kairi Ituuru, the headteacher of Antuanduru Mixed Secondary School in Tigania East, said principals were grateful following the government announcement that capitation had been sent to schools.
“With most parents decrying inability to raise fees, the government resources will come in handy,” said Ituuru, who also chairs the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) in the area.
In Eldoret town, it was business as usual at books and school uniform stores as parents lined up to buy school items in preparation for the new term.
Nelly Kichwen, a parent from Ziwa in Uasin Gishu, spent the better part of the day in Eldoret town shopping for her five school-going children.
“Book prices have increased. I am buying a book that was sold at Sh500 last month at over Sh600 right now, which means I will use more money than I had budgeted for,” Kichwen said.
As for Stanley Chepkulei, a parent from Simat, the increase in fuel prices had affected the price of every commodity in the market, and parents will have to dig deeper into their pockets.
“I came to buy school uniforms and other items for my child, a student from St Teresa Tartar in West Pokot County, I paid more than I expected. We urge the government to reduce the cost of fuel,” he said.
Chepkulei said parents should ensure that they give their children enough money if they are travelling by themselves to school because there could be an increase in bus fares due to the high cost of fuel.
The parents have also asked the government to step in and provide some learning materials for pupils, especially those under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
Eunice Cherop, a parent to a Grade Five pupil, said CBC is a competitive curriculum that requires joint efforts from the parent and government.
Cherop, an Education Officer, said most parents are disadvantaged by the new curriculum.
Kakamega Woman Kills Husband Over Co-wife, Solar Panel
A Kakamega woman has admitted to murdering her husband after he disconnected their solar panel from her house and fitting it in her co-wife house.
Before the High Court in Kakamega, Joy Trizar Shitubi pleaded guilty to the charge of man-slaughtering her husband on October 26, 2017 at Emachoni village.
“I stabbed my husband Joseph Waboko Mbayi on the material date without malice aforethought,” said Shitubi who had entered a plea bargain deal with the prosecution to plead guilty for manslaughter instead of the more serious murder charge.
Narrating her ordinance, Shitubi explained she was preparing food for dinner when her husband, Mbayi came and disconnected the solar panel from her house and took it to the first wife’s house.
According to her, her husband later returned back and grabbed her by the neck and started strangling her when she protested against the action of snatching the solar panel from her and could not reveal where its charger was.
“I struggled to come out of the strangling but he hit me in the face and tried to grab the knife I was using to peel tomatoes from my hand,” she said. “Amidst the struggle I unfortunately happened to stab him with the knife in the chest fatally injuring him.”
Meanwhile, the sister to Mbayi, Ester, who witnessed the incident claims that her brother was provoked to start the fight when her sister-in-law could not reveal where she had kept the charger to the solar panel.
She confirmed that her brother hit Joy on the face with a fist and a struggle ensued between them leading to the fatal stab. The first wife said Mbayi went to her co-wife’s house and disconnected the solar plate that had initially been installed in her house. She added that after her husband returned the solar panel back to her house and went back to Shitubi’s house to collect the charger.
“I later heard screams of a child coming from the house and when I went, I found our husband lying on the floor with blood coming from his chest,” she said.
When cop Jael Kwamboka, from Mahondo Administration Police Post arrested Shitubi as Mbayi was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. According to autopsy report, the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest.
CS George Magoha Asks School Heads Not To Chase Away Students With Arrears
George Magoh, the Education Cabinet Secretary has urged school headmasters not sack students from school due to school fees arrears.
According to Magoh, before Friday government will drop the school capitation.
The Education Cabinet Secretary speaking at Kisii yesterday said no student will be sent home due to lack of school fees.
Mr George Magoh addressed a gathering at the launch of junior secondary school classrooms phase two at Kereri Girls.
“We are all sailing in the same boat where we are struggling with harsh economic times. The price of basic commodities has gone high and this affects all of us, even at the family level,” he said.
Mr Magoh made an appeal to school headmasters to use available resources to make sure that students remain in school.
“We have school feeding programmes in day schools, let us support those critical cases stay in school. We must admit the students to school and give parents an opportunity to pay school fees. Those of us who have already cleared paying fees for our children have gone an extra mile to pay fees for other needy cases, which is a welcome move,” he said.
According to him, the capitation programme changed because of the affected school calendar. “President Uhuru and my ministry will work extra hard to ensure that we have released the funds on time,” he said.
Magoha assured that government will soon finish the building of 10,000 junior secondary school classrooms on time.
“We will deliver the classrooms before we leave the office. No money that belongs to our children will go to waste,” he said.
A further 5,000 classrooms will be constructed. He warned private developers who have grabbed land belonging to schools.