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State warns schools against flouting set fees guidelines

By Standard Team | Updated Fri, January 6th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
Bunyore Girls High School students carry Whitney Mbeneka, who was the school's top student in last year's KCSE examinations. She scored a mean grade A of 81 points. [photo: DUNCAN OCHOLLA/Standard]

School heads flouting the set fees guidelines by levying unauthorised expenditure will face disciplinary action.

Strict instructions have been issued from the Ministry of Education to ensure that any school heads found flouting the guidelines would be dealt with accordingly.

In Mombasa, County Director of Education Khalif Hirey said yesterday any school heads found contravening the guidelines would have themselves to blame.

"We have not approved any fees hikes in Mombasa County. Clear instructions have been issued on how much schools should charge as fees this academic year," Mr Hirey said. "We have our officers on the ground monitoring the level of compliance."

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) National Executive Council member (in charge of Coast), Dan Aloo, however criticised the Government for showing little effort in addressing the issue of fees subsidies for secondary schools and free primary school funds.

"The first term has begun in earnest, with all private institutions having all the finances they require to run their institutions after parents have paid fees. For public schools, we are yet to receive funds from the Government," Mr Aloo said.

He said the private schools put public institutions in a precarious position because they could afford to cater for all their needs.

He said the union would not side with any head teachers who colluded with school boards of management to hike fees.

As revealed yesterday by The Standard, school heads have devised new ways of making money from parents without raising questions from the ministry.

This is majorly through single-sourcing procurement of uniforms, development projects and inflating student numbers in order to receive more capitations from the Government.

NEW CHARGES

Such charges are usually not included in the fees structure and easily go unnoticed. This caused an uproar among parents who protested the new charges and stood their ground.

Although Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i could not be reached, information from his office stated that the fees guidelines issued by the ministry were in force.

Through his spokesperson, the CS warned that firm action would be taken against any teachers found overcharging parents.

County and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) directors are under strict instructions to ensure that the set guidelines are adhered to.

Already in Homa Bay, head teachers of Kamolo and Kodhoch secondary schools have been demoted for presenting altered student enrollment records in order to receive more funds from the Government under the subsided secondary school funding programme.

"Many principals do not follow the guidelines. The structure may look clean but once the annual general meeting is called, more charges are imposed that the Government is not aware of," noted Nicholas Maiyo of the National Parents Association.

In 2016, Dr Matiang'i visited some schools to demonstrate to head teachers that it was no longer business as usual.

Stories by Graham Kajilwa, Faith Karanja, Phillip Mwakio and Eric Abuga.