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Teachers and students ready for school opening as parents lament on higher costs

Parents buy school books at the Savanis bookshop ahead of the new school year in Nairobi on January 3, 2020. Schools reopen in Kenya on January 7, 2020. /AFP.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 6 – Schools re-opened Monday for the first term of 2020, with teachers and students expressing optimism of a smooth term ahead even as parents lamented the high cost of books and fees.

Across the country, queues were witnessed in bookshops and in shops dealing in school uniforms and other related accessories.

“I wish I purchased the items in December or even November,” Diana Mwangi said, lining up at a uniforms store on Moi Avenue in the capital Nairobi while holding her daughter joining Form One, “the prices are now crazy.”

For Edwin Wanjala, the problem is not even the price, it is the availability of the items listed by schools.

“I have moved from more than three bookshops now and the books are not there,” he said, “when you get one in this shop, you miss the other.”

Patrick Mwangi, a headteacher at Statehouse Primary said they are ready to kick off the new term.

“Our teachers have undergone training for the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC),” he said, “books for grade four have also arrived so we are set.”

A young boy reads a book in the Savanis bookshop ahead of the new school year in Nairobi on January 3, 2020. Schools reopen in Kenya on January 7, 2020.

A parent at the school, Evelyne Adhiambo, expressed optimism “the new curriculum will help shape the future of our children.”

“It will help the children to be more responsible and be more independent,” she also said, after dropping her Grade II pupil.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has assured that officials are finalising the distribution of textbooks to ensure all schools are well equipped.

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“The books that have been distributed are now at 98.8 percent up from 97 percent last week but I assure you from Monday it will be at 100 percent,” he said.

Parents buy school books at the Savanis bookshop ahead of the new school year in Nairobi on January 3, 2020. Schools reopen in Kenya on January 7, 2020.

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