NAIROBI, Kenya – School fees in public secondary schools will go up in the New Year as a result of the escalating food and oil prices, according to the government.
Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri told reporters on Tuesday that boarding schools were likely to be worst hit.
“The cost over-run is coming very high indeed and this is a feature that we will have to look at regularly,” said the Minister who urged teachers to adopt best adjustment strategies to ensure school programmes were not disrupted.
“Bearing in mind the spurring prices of food and other inputs such as energy and fuel, the only way to rise above it is to moderate whatever increases there may be with the realities on the ground to forestall any undue suffering,” he said.
The Education Minister said measures by the government to introduce subsidised secondary education early this year would, however, cushion students against the impact of the increment in most schools.
Prof Ongeri assured that the government would review bursaries and increase its subsidy to cushion students against the hike.
“We believe that with the money we have been putting for infrastructure development (in the education sector) and the money which is coming through in form of bursaries for vulnerable groups that we should be able to cushion against these spiraling prices.”
He said the situation had been made worse by the rise in the cost of food. "The cost of electricity has also gone up, including that of fuel," he added.
In February this year, The Government waived the tuition fees in line with its pledge to expand secondary education, with a target of raising student enrolment to 1.4 million by the end of the year.
The government has released about Sh3.2 billion to pay for the first phase of the programme; which is contained in the Sessional Paper No 1 of 2005 on a Policy Framework for Education, Training and Research.
At the same time, Prof Ongeri expressed confidence that the transition rate for students being admitted into form one would rise to between 75 and 80 percent despite the economic hardships and events of the post election violence.
The number of primary school students has risen from five million to more than eight million since the introduction of the free primary education programme in 2003.
According to statistics from the ministry, there were 1.2 million children in Kenya’s high school system last year. Some 400,000 students entered secondary school in 2007 – about 60 percent of those who sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) – a number expected to have risen by 200,000 this year with the introduction of subsidies to cover tuition and certain related costs.