Parents shocked by high form one fees

THOUSANDS of parents have been shocked by the high fees the national schools are charging students who are entering form one today.

The fees have raised fears that thousands of those called to the prestigious schools will have to give up their places.

The final replacement date for those who will have forfeited their places is March 20.

Inquiries by the Star indicate that all the national schools, including those only recently elevated, charge fees of between Sh80,000 and Sh150,000 per student annually.

This excludes other expenses like textbooks and uniforms that are mandatory for admission.

The school fees shocker has heightened fears that head teachers and other middlemen in these institutions will use the chance to solicit bribes from desperate parents and give the slots to less qualified and less deserving students.

The charges are in direct contrast with the recommendations of the Report of the Taskforce on Secondary School Fees 2014.

It recommend unit costs for secondary education be fixed below Sh23,975 for day/sub-county schools, Sh51,839 for national schools and county boarding schools and below Sh52,435 for Special Needs schools.

Even though the taskforce report was handed to the President in October for implementation, it continues to gather dust on the shelves.

“From the calls we have been receiving from some parents and our preliminary analysis, we estimate that over 30 per cent of those children picked to join the national schools will not be able to; a similar number destined for county or former provincial schools as as well district schools will also not join.

"The main reason that will lock them out is the exorbitant fees those schools have imposed on parents. The fees are way above the middle-income and low-income households’ reach,” Ndunda Musau, the Kenya National Association of Parents’ secretary general said.

the fees structures seen by the Star include Maranda High School’s, Siaya, are fixed at Sh82,496 a year. This is Sh67,196 for term One and Sh15,300 for term Two.

Parents who wish that their children join the Alliance Boys’ School have to part with Sh110,000 as fees and spend an additional Sh20,000 on uniforms and textbooks.

Mudzo Nzili of the Kenya National Union of Teachers said the schools were justified to levy such fees.

"Head teachers are concerned with the day-to-day running of schools and they understand better. Looking at the inflation rate today, we are standing by them on this one. But if parents think that these fees are not practical, they should raise their concerns with the relevant authorities,” he said.

Our attempts to reach Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi were futile as he did not respond to our calls or text messages on whether the administration was delivering on the Jubilee promise of giving all Kenyans an affordable education. The Star, Monday, February 2, 2015

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