Parents complain of high lunch levies, tuition fee

A student waits at the gate of Kisumu Day High School to be admitted to Form One on February 6, 2023. [Michael Mute, Standard]

With over a million students expected to join Form One secondary schools around the county, many parents are struggling to raise the required school fees.

Further, they have raised concern over increasing levies imposed by institutions to cater for lunches in day secondary schools.

The situation, leaders say, is locking out many learners who cannot afford to pay the compulsory charges.

While capitation ought to ease the pressure off the parents, day secondary schools impose charges of between Sh12, 000 and 15,000 per term to cater for lunch.

“While capitation should relieve struggling parents of paying school fees, schools are imposing exorbitant levies as lunch. These funds are not only catering for lunch, but also for paying teachers employed by the board,” Nakuru town West MP Samuel Arama said.

He said the situation has forced most of the parents who cannot afford to raise the amount to seek bursaries.

“The ministry is not aware of day school lunch fees that many parents are unable to raise. Most are entirely dependent on NG-CDF which has greatly helped many parents,” he said.

To curb the charges in day schools within the constituency, Arama said he has held talks with headteachers to agree on fair lunch rates in schools, which he says are compulsory.

 In Naivasha, local leaders called on the Nakuru county government to double the allocation of ward bursary kitty from the current Sh1 million.

Biashara ward representative Elijah Mwaura said the ongoing drought had hit hard families in the informal settlements in the area.

He said the County Assembly would petition the executive to increase the current bursary so that many more students would benefit.

Reverend Paul Matheri said even the church is under pressure to support the needy students.

In Turkana, despite insecurity fears, the admission exercise went according to plan as schools across the county reported high admission.

“The admission process is going on well as we expect all the students who were called to join this institution to report,” said Thomas Lokuruka, the principal of St Kevins Mixed Secondary School.

In Trans Nzoia County, a section of students reported without school fees but were not turned away by the management.

Governor George Natembeya contacted several principals and requested them to admit students sponsored by the county government as arrangements were being made to clear the fees.

At St Anthony Boys Kitale, Principal George Onsare said some parents and learners arrived for admission without fees.

In Vihiga, Wesley Owen reported to Chavakali High School with only several required items in his box but with no school fees.

Chavakali principal Edward Wachilonga said the school will cater for Owen’s school uniform but urged any well-wisher to come in and help pay the 14-year-old tuition fee.

He is expected to raise Sh53, 000 tuition fee annually.

[Reporting by Kennedy Gachuhi, Caroline Chebet, Antony Gitonga, Boniface Gikandi, Edward Kosut, Osinde Obare and Bakari Angela, and Brian Kisanji]

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