NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – Many schools have re-opened countrywide amid high fees and text book charges that have angered parents who are now seeking intervention from the government.
The Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang has already given County Directors of Education up to 4pm Monday to submit a list of schools that are not adhering to the set guidelines for fees.
Parents shopping for various school items have complained of increases of up to 25 percent, including uniforms and shoes.
“Things are very expensive, and prices have gone up to almost 25 percent; the economy is crazy and needs to be checked,” said Mary Atieno who was shopping for shoes for her seven-year-old son.
Another shopper at Text Book Centre, Michael Mugo urged the government to remove taxes on books to make them affordable to all a statement that was stressed by the Kenya Publishers Association which increased prices books on the list approved by the Ministry of Education by 10 percent.
“We are just wondering if the government is serious on education they need to consider the high cost of text books and remove the tax from them,” Mugo said.
In September 2013 the government imposed 16 percent VAT on books and the raw materials used for printing books.
Kenya is the second country in Africa after South Africa to impose VAT on books not withstanding that Kenya is signatory to international conventions that discourage taxation on books.
Asked why they shopped last minute, one parent Samuel Mungai from Nairobi said, he enjoyed shopping last minute with other parents as it is a sense of pride.
“There is always a joy when everybody else is doing it, you feel great as a parent, it’s the in thing in us, we never plan ahead,” he said cheerfully as he shopped for uniforms for his class six daughter.