NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – Education stakeholders have agreed that public secondary schools should adhere to the gazetted fees structure and not impose extra costs.
This follows a closed-door meeting between Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET)and the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA).
Speaking following the meeting on Tuesday, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion indicated that the issue had been blown out of proportion and stated that a number of factors contributed to the increase in fees in certain schools.
“The Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission should coordinate the financing of education. Once it is done, we will stop making news of who has paid fees and who has not,” he said.
“So this matter for the next 15 years should see the children of this country from nursery to form four attending school without paying any levies so the job is cut out for Members of Parliament,” he stated.
KNUT National Chairman Mudzo Nzili explained that the schools which increased their charges did so to cater for teachers who are not employed by the Teachers Service Commission.
“It has been revealed that it is only seven percent of secondary school heads who were forced to effect the increases… some Sh2,000, others Sh3,000, or Sh5,000 because of various aspects of the operations of their schools,” he pointed out.
KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori echoed the sentiments and stated that the guidelines need to be adhered to, to prevent confusion in the sector.
“The fee guidelines must be adhered to because if we do not do this, then we are setting schools up for anarchy and that might cause unnecessary commotion. But we are also in agreement that the ministry is to develop a database of school boards so that those that might charge extra in the future do not surprise the parents,” he stated.
On Monday, many schools re-opened countrywide amid high fees and text book charges that angered parents who sought intervention from the government.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang had given County Directors of Education up to 4pm Monday to submit a list of schools that failed to adhere to the set guidelines for fees.
Education Cabinet Secretary Matiang’i on the other hand had urged parents to only pay the gazetted fees in the schools.
He has asked them to report cases of extra charges to the County Directors of Education for action to be taken against individual school heads.
The Kenya National Association of Parents (KNAP) had also called on Parliament to amend the TSC Act so that the oversight of Principals and Head teachers can be directly under the Ministry of Education.
Speaking during a press conference Monday, the association’s chairman Musau Ndunda stated that this will ensure that directives from the ministry are obeyed.
Musau pointed out that as a result of being under TSC, when an order is given by the ministry, it is usually ignored since it is the commission which disciplines school heads.