NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3 – Orange Democratic Movement National Chairman John Mbadi has asked the government to break its silence over massive fee increases by schools.
He specifically wants the government to enforce the gazetted fee structure which has widely been ignored by a number of schools with some doubling the amounts.
“The government must now come out and address the chaos and confusion resulting from its incompetence in the management of education. The Ministry of Education must not hide behind head teachers. It must lead from the front,” he said through a statement sent to newsrooms.
“Government exists to be used as an instrument of action. It must not fail Kenyans in this basic expectation. The Ministry of Education must prevail on schools to adhere to the fee structure issued, if at all it was a policy and not a political document, and remove from their budgets items that are not critical to learning.”
The legislator laments that the continued increase of school fees will bar thousands of children from accessing secondary school education, which is key for their growth in future.
Mbadi says the government must also make necessary interventions to help the schools meet their requirements without passing unnecessary costs to already overburdened parents.
“Education is driving too many families into poverty. It is also shattering the future of too many young people because of its runaway cost,” he complained.
“Millions of parents are sinking entire savings and earnings into the education of their children in the correct understanding that it is the best insurance they can give to their loved ones. The parents do this knowing well the same children may not get jobs on completing school.”
He said the buck stops with the government especially in the current situation while pointing out that payment of fees requires planning and budgeting.
Similar appeals have been made by the Kenya National Association of Parents which will on Monday present a petition to Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, demanding the arrest of a number of County Education Directors over the inflated secondary school fees.
The association’s Secretary General Musau Ndunda has accused the directors of incompetence saying secondary schools continue to increase fees under their watch, contrary to a government directive.
“It is a shame that thousands of our children will not be able to access education because of this,” he complained.
He urged the government to take charge of the education sector since ‘mercenaries’ have taken over.
He says some of the schools are charging as high as Sh100,000 per term in fees.
The gazetted school fees structure requires children attending boarding schools to pay Sh26,750 in first term, Sh16,050 in second term and Sh10,700 during third term.
For those attending day schools, they are supposed to pay Sh4,600 in first term Sh2,500 second term and Sh800 in the third term.
He urged Parliament to empower the education Cabinet Secretary to take charge of the Teachers Service Commission which he says has encouraged impunity in the education sector.