|Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.|
By Protus Onyango
Parents have been forced to pay through the nose for their children to access secondary education.
This has sparked off a national outcry by parents and other education stakeholders about high school fees increment, which they say needs a quick solution so that children are not locked out of the school system.
The Constitution, in Section 28 (2) defines basic education as that offered and imparted in pre-primary, primary and secondary schools.
The Basic Education Act 2013 which was passed after the promulgation of the new constitution took away from school principals “the executive powers of teachers and principals of handling finances, general administration of schools including discipline and gave them only one duty of ensuring that children attend school freely and report those who don’t attend school”.
But even with arguments by schools that they cannot operate without charging fees, it turns out that most of them are asking for hundreds of times more than the legal limit.
Following findings by a task force on secondary education headed by Dr Eddah Gachukia in 2009, the government directed that public boarding schools should not charge more than Sh18, 628. On top of that the schools are supposed to receive Sh10, 265 per child from the government.
Currently, national public schools charge between Sh90, 000 to Sh100, 000 per year as fees minus other requirements like uniform, games, development, construction, bus, trips, and swimming pool fees. The principals demand that 50 per cent of the total fees must be paid on the first day the child reports to the school.
This has forced Kenya National Association of Parents has now gone to court to seek a constitutional interpretation of the education law.