The Kenya Parents Association has condemned emerging reports of additional fees imposed on parents by secondary school heads ahead of Form One admission on August 2, saying they should follow the right procedure.
These sentiments come after a report (by The Standard) established most schools were asking Form One parents to pay between Sh5,000 and Sh35,000 ‘development fees’ before being issued with admission letters.
The school heads had earlier argued that the ministry’s funding was not enough to improve schools’ infrastructure, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some, though not on record, said the extra money was to build more classes and dormitories for the learner’s comfort.
In an interview with KTN News on Monday morning, Nicholas Maiyo, chair of the Parents’ Association urged school principals to ask for approval from the Ministry of Education concerning the additional levy.
“I am surprised to hear parents are paying for admission. Why? Parents should only feed students and provide personal effects,” he told KTN News.
“We (parents) will not pay money that cannot be audited. Any money paid to schools and is not recognised by the Ministry of Education will automatically not be audited. That is a loophole for graft,” he said.
Maiyo challenged school heads to discuss challenges (classrooms and dormitories) openly with the ministry and chart a way forward.
“The principals need to sit down in their unions and come up with an MOA that will see the ministry approve the so-called ‘development fee’. It is only then that we can agree on the way forward because this way, we are hurting the parents,” he remarked.
In a recent interview, Education Permanent Secretary Julius Jwan said any charge levied on parents without the ministry’s approval is illegal and asked parents to stop making such payments.
“The guidelines are clear on what schools’ management boards should do when they want to raise any additional money therefore, we cannot leave it open for all schools to charge extra levies,” said Jwan.
While pushing for fee increment in 2019, principals pointed an accusing finger towards the government saying it does not fund five key maintenance items in the running of a school.
They said fumigation as a result of Covid-19, window maintenance, kitchen and laboratory maintenance, building repair and maintenance have not been funded.