|Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi with other ministry officials arrive for the Form One selection exercise launch in Nairobi, Tuesday. [PHOTO: BEVERLYN MUSILI/STANDARD]|
By FELIX OLICK
Kenya: The Ministry of Education has warned secondary schools against charging unapproved fees, even as it was revealed that close to 200,000 pupils would miss Form One places this year.
Speaking at the launch of the Form One selection exercise Tuesday, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi cautioned against the “unprofessional and illegal” practice of hiking fees, ahead of next month’s new admissions.
“Boards of management and head teachers should adhere to ministerial guidelines on charging extra levies,” Basic Education Act 2013 Section 29 that has clear provisions on charges,” he said.
The warning came only days after the Kenya National Association of Parents (KNAP) threatened to sue the Government over high fees charged in public schools.
KNAP Secretary-General Musau Ndunda maintained that all public secondary schools should not charge more than Sh18,435 for boarding and Sh3,600 (day school) as per the fees guideline issued by the Government.
Kaimenyi said national schools are not meant to be expensive to hurt poor parents whose students obtained admission in the schools
“It was to provide opportunities for bright students to access fast-rate education in these institutions,” he stated.
He revealed that the Government had disbursed Sh48 million to each of the national schools to expand infrastructure so as to accommodate more students, without steep increase in fees and other levies.
During the selection exercise at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, it was revealed that close to 200,000 candidates who sat the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam would miss Form One places.
Only 647,602 students who sat for the KCPE exams out of 843,626 will transit to secondary school, which translates to a 76.76 per cent transition rate, similar to the prior year’s 76.75 per cent.
Top Ministry officials yesterday rallied parents whose children would miss places to youth polytechnics, whose selection was slated for January 27.
“We need these people, we need people who are hands on,” emphasised Education Principal Secretary Prof Colleta Suda, adding that they were critical in driving the country’s Vision 2030.
But the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) secretary-general, Mr Akello Misori, criticised the approach saying the candidates needed at least a Form Four certificate.
“Some of the skills required in youth polytechnics need at least secondary school education,” he said.
Meanwhile, it was announced that 25 per cent of slots in national schools would go to private schools while the rest — 75 per cent — would go to public schools.
Kaimenyi maintained that even with deliberate efforts to level the playing ground for all candidates, private schools would still get the lion’s share. “That should therefore put the debate to rest”.
Kaimenyi said the formula of equity has been applied in order to ensure proportionate sharing of national schools slots between the two categories of candidates.
He said Form One selection was computerised to make it more efficient, effective and transparent.
“The names of students selected to national and county schools were computer-generated. The guiding principle of the selection exercise remains merit, choice, equity, national integration and availability of places,” he said.
According to the ministry schedule, selection in extra-county and county schools will begin on January 20 and 21.
However, sub-county or district schools will select students on January 22.
Those who lucky to secure the few Form One places will be expected to report to their respective secondary schools between February 3 and 10.
Kaimenyi also directed Education field officers to furnish his ministry with accurate returns of Form One students who will have taken up their places in each of the school categories.
“This will enable the ministry to make informed decisions for future planning,” he said.