Why Ministry of Education Can't Stop Illegal School Fees

Parents may get stuck with paying for school fees to institutions that ignore fee guidelines and regulations.

This comes after Jacob Kaimenyi, the Cabinet Secretary for Education, stated that the Ministry of Education doesn’t have the power to deal with secondary schools that are charging excess school fees.

The claim came on the same day, Thursday, October 15, that Kaimenyi launched a toll free hotline meant for families to report schools charging illegally.

The CS then stated that only the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has the capabilities to punish educators who are charging in excess.

Kaimenyi made his statements at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development during the 7th civil society conference on education for all, reports the Daily Nation.

“I have to massage the commission to act on such teachers. The ministry has no powers to discipline,” Kaimenyi said during the conference.

Kaimenyi stated that some schools have been charging up to KSh 120,000 per year in tuition more than some colleges within Kenya.

The CS then claimed that teachers unions may be sabotaging education saying: “Some of these unions have been part and parcel of some of these resolution and have participated in education forums only to turn around and disown them. Shame on you, no one is special.”

Prof Kaimenyi on Thursday, October 15, asked members of the public to use the number and report cases of extortion in schools, charging for holiday tuition or misappropriation of funds within schools.

The number is an initiative of education-centred civil society group Elimu Yetu Coalition that works with NGOs dealing in education.

The revelation that illegal school fees may go unpunished continues a rocky year for the education sector. Only two weeks ago, a month long teachers strike was called off after being started on Tuesday, September 1.

The teachers unions called the strike after a 50-60% pay increment for teachers failed to show up in their salaries. The strike led to bitter political infighting. One notable spectacle was members of the Opposition holding a rally in Uhuru Park in Nairobi, many dressed in school uniforms to show solidarity with the striking educators.

Despite the strike being finished there are already rumours of another strike to be called by the teachers unions in January of 2016.

In the weeks leading up to the strike, Kaimenyi had publicly blasted schools charging pupils for holiday tuition which he stated are excess school fees.

Kaimenyi said of the holiday tuition issue: “April, August and December holidays accord an opportunity to learners to relax and learn important social skills through interactions among themselves and with adults while on holidays. Tuition outside school hours and during holiday ceased to be remedial and has been turned into a commercial enterprise through which teachers earn illegal income. As a result, extra tuition is used to cover the content which should be covered in the normal academic year.”

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