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Magoha warns school heads over extra charges

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MOHAMED AHMED

By MOHAMED AHMED
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WINNIE ATIENO

By WINNIE ATIENO
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The Ministry of Education has barred principals from charging extra school fees, saying the government has abolished the levies, potentially bringing relief to thousands of overburdened parents.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha directed the school managers to use the gazetted fees structures.

“We have abolished extra levies and we are implementing only the gazetted school fees structure,” Prof Magoha said. Most extra-county boarding schools are charging between Sh53,000 and Sh60,000 per year.

Many parents have complained about being forced to pay extra money in undocumented school fees.

The fees, the parents have variously been told, would cater for borehole repairs, pay salaries for teachers hired through boards of management (BOM), and improve infrastructure, among other things.

“To avoid documentation that may attract sanctions, some schools have avoided listing the disputed items on formal fee structures and instead the extra charges are communicated verbally but payment is mandatory,” Mr Ali Kassim, a parent, told the Nation.

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More than one million students have been enrolled in public secondary schools so far even as the institutions grapple with massive congestion.

“The ministry has placed 1,075,201 in public secondary schools, excluding inmates, adult learners and refugees in camps. The students were expected to report for admission from January 13 to 17. Some of the students may opt to join private secondary schools and this will be captured appropriately,” Prof Magoha said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Education show that 1,088,986 candidates registered for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination last year and 1,083,456 sat the test.

Speaking at a meeting with security chiefs during their annual forum at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa, Prof Magoha announced the hiring of 10,000 intern teachers this year.

Some 339,752 trained teachers are from public and private schools. Teachers from special-needs schools had also been trained.

On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed security agencies to work with officials in the Ministry of Education to ensure all students join secondary schools.

“You must know how many children are in your region, how many are in school, and those that aren’t. It is now your responsibility to ensure all children are in school,” he said.



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