Tough times as schools reopen for new term today

A parent helps her daughter fit in uniform as schools reopen for the second term. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Parents are once again braving for a painful back to school season as the new term begins this week.

A spot check by The Standard in the city’s bookshops and uniforms suppliers found some in a frenzy buying supplies for their children.

"We don't have any money considering the children were home for just a week. I need over Sh60,000 in school fees for the three and I have to cough this up by Tuesday when schools reopen," said Ambrose Mureithi.

Mureithi is a father of three children in Form Three, Class Six and ECDE. We caught up with him at Savanis Book Shop Centre along Latema Road.

He added: "I came to buy some textbooks which I didn’t manage to buy in the first term."

School fees headache

The parents’ school fees headache can only be matched by the nightmare school heads are going through in maintaining their institutions without any funds. Last term, the government did not release any funds to cater for an estimated one million Form One students.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha had promised that by last Friday the government would have disbursed Sh17.5 billion to schools ahead of the reopening to help in smooth learning.

Out of the amount, the CS explained that Sh15.75 billion has been sent to secondary schools while Sh2.2 billion to primary institutions. He also called on schools not to turn away students because of lack of school fees.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha. [Courtesy]

Raphael Bango, a father of a Form Two and a First-Year university student said his struggles are not just for school fees but also securing the textbooks required.

"I have visited several bookshops but the books I need are not in stock. From last term when schools opened, I was here looking for the same books but it seems they are out of stock," he laments. 

Still has arrears

Bongo who says he needs Sh50,000 in school fees and an additional Sh10,000 for shopping says he still has arrears for last term’s school fees.

"It's been a very tough time for parents as we've not had enough time to look for money within such a short time. Many of us depend on monthly salaries which makes it hard to survive and pay school fees for two terms," he adds.

Another parent, Jane Mumbua, is more concerned about uniforms, lamenting that her children had outgrown theirs in a short time.

"I came to pick a few items which I didn't manage to buy in the first term. I'm forced to buy a new set of uniforms for my son who is in Form Three, as he has outgrown his old ones," said Mumbua, whom we encountered at Uniform Distributors Ltd.

She is grateful that her child's school has made an arrangement to allow parents to pay fees in instalments until the end of the term.