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Tricks school principals use to beat CS Matiang’i tough regulations on fees

By Augustine Oduor | Published Sat, December 10th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 9th 2016 at 23:58 GMT +3
Education CS Fred Matiang'i. Parents will be hit with high fees shocker when schools open next year, as principals device clever ways of concealing outlawed additional levies. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Parents will be hit with high fees shocker when schools open next year, as principals device clever ways of concealing outlawed additional levies.

The Standard on Saturday has established that most secondary schools are still pushing parents to pay fees above the ministry set guidelines, even as Education officials talk tough on capped rates.

A random check on sampled fee structures and interviews with some parents reveals that while some schools have glaring high fees, others have the right amount on printed official documents, but additional fees instructions issued separately.

And some principals issued fee structures – that are not signed or rubber-stamped – to parents, while others published documents indicating fees for only one term to escape the keen eyes of parents and education officials.

And despite the government ban on mock examinations, some schools still solicit funds towards the tests, while others still demand Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) facilitation fees.

The scheme to burden parents is happening despite stern instructions by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and numerous circulars issued by the government on strict adherence to fees guidelines.

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If not regulated, 2017 will be the third year school heads will have flouted the 2015 fees guidelines that set fees for day schools at Sh9,374 per year. The guidelines gazetted in March 2015 sets boarding school fees at Sh53,554 per year and fees for special schools were pegged at Sh37,210 annually.

Government subsidy

The rates were arrived at after deducting the government subsidy of Sh13,000 per child per year.

But at Alliance Girls High School, for instance, transaction documents seen by The Standard on Saturday shows that parents paid up to Sh127,000 this year. A student’s fees statement printed October 26, 2016 shows that in 2015, the school charged fees of up to Sh133,000. But the fee structure released by the school for 2017 only indicates that parents will pay Sh43,554.

Nakuru Girls High School only issued fees structure for term one – January 2017. The document indicates that Form Two students will pay Sh36,700, Form Three students to pay Sh42,800, while those in Form Four will pay Sh36,700.

The lack of fees details for the other terms makes it difficult for parents to quickly notice the likely high fees they are required to pay.

Some schools have also devised smart ways of arranging their fee structures to suppress the actual fees payable by parents per year.

St Georges Girls Secondary School (Nairobi) shows that parents will pay Sh53,554 next year. But the document includes additional fees, which brings the total payable in 2017 to Sh77,138.

St Augustine Nyamonye Girls, for instance, indicates that the total fees is Sh53,554 – within the set guidelines – but demands additional payments of up to Sh17,000 to parents.

Among the additional levies are Sh2,000 mock fees for Form Four students, Sh5,000 for academic support programmes and Sh4,000 loan repayment fees.

At Kakamega High School, the 2017 fees structure says parents resolved in August 2016 to pay Sh63,400. The document also lists additional payments, bringing the total fees payable next year to Sh75,430.

Finer details of the additional levies reveal that school heads have ignored the ministry’s directive that outlawed charges levied on parents.

For instance, some school charge mock fees, varying lunch levies and County Education Board (CEB) fees. Others also ask parents to pay activity fees for Kenya Secondary SchoolHeads Association (KESSHA), while others include fees for additional uniforms.

A circular released by Dr Matiang’i this year lists only 10 vote heads, complete with parents’ contributions. The document says parents will not pay for meals in day schools and outlawed PTA funds and any other “top-ups”.

“Parents are therefore advised to only pay the amount in the Gazette notice and report incidents of any students turned away for not paying fees to their respective County Directors of Education,” said Matiang’i.

This means no student should be sent home for fees. But some fee structures instruct parents that no child will be allowed in school before making payments.

Another circular by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia dated January 2016 cautions heads against high fees.

“Schools should adhere to gazetted fees guidelines without exception. As secretaries of the Boards of Management (BoM), principals should advise boards, parents, guardians and stakeholders on the provisions in the Gazette notice on fees guidelines,” said Macharia.

Yet another circular released by Education PS Belio Kipsang warns that no school will be allowed to take money beyond acceptable limits.

The circular dated October 31 cites President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August 19, 2016 directive on fees guidelines for all public schools.

But even as the government fumbles with the implementation of the fees directive, parents at Kisumu Boys High School will pay Sh60,754, Kereri Girls (Kisii) Sh66,423, Orero Secondary School Sh79,854 and Rang’ala Boys Sh64,254.

At Nyanchwa Girls’ High School (Kisii), parents said the school issued a handwritten note requesting them to pay Sh5,700 for remedial on top of Sh53,100 annual fee.

Matutu Adventist Secondary School is asking for an additional charge of Sh8,000 KCSE examination fees, which had been scrapped.

Parents at Ambira High will pay Sh75,154 fees. The school also included Sh7, 600 for joint examinations, Sh6,060 PTA levies and Sh2,500 uniform fees.

Parents at Sironga Girls will pay Sh78,859 and additional levies of Sh7,750 for uniform.