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Do not allow schools to flout guidelines from the ministry

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | December 29th 2017

Some of the reforms introduced by the Ministry of Education affect the school calendar. Unlike in the past when schools opened in the second week of January, public schools open their doors on January 2, 2018. That will present a reality check for parents who have immersed themselves in merry making this festive period. 

For those joining the club of parents with students in secondary schools, the reality might hit a little too hard, given the mandatory requirements before a student is admitted to Form One.

Nevertheless, the expectation is that cautious parents, having had ample time since the release of KCPE in November 2017 to prepare, will have no excuse for being caught unawares.

But even before schools open, there are complaints that Government-issued fee guidelines and other measures designed to cushion parents have been ignored by some schools.

Through some of the admission letters that the 2017 KCPE candidates have received, they are asked to buy or pay for items already taken care of by Government subsidy that has been raised from Sh12,870 to Sh22,244 effective next year.

The promise of a 100 per cent transition rate from primary school to secondary school, free text books, a reduced fee burden and free National Hospital Insurance Fund enrolment guarantees that the Government's hands will be full.

This will not only present logistical challenges, unless the Government acts with speed to ensure capitation reaches schools in good time unlike in the past when head teachers had to raise the alarm to get the government moving, parents will bear the brunt.

If the Government comes through on the promise of free secondary school education, the current infrastructure might not accommodate the expected surge in numbers of those seeking knowledge.

In the past, uncontrolled levies robbed the poor of an education, making it the preserve of the well-to-do. Some of the illegal levies imposed on parents included teacher motivation fee, mock exams, insurance, PTA projects, reams of photocopy paper, bus projects and the compulsory purchase of uniforms either from a specific supplier or from the school at over-inflated costs.

These are creeping back, demanding that the Cabinet secretary must act fast to rein in errant head teachers.

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