Agony of school leavers as schools retain their KCSE certificates

BOMET COUNTY: Paul Kipngetich, 30, sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams seven years ago at a school in Chepalungu, Bomet County. But today, he is yet to get his certificate because he has not cleared fees arrears amounting to Sh35,000.

His attempts to take advantage of the directive issued by former President Mwai Kibaki did not bear much fruit as he was taken round in circles by the administration.

"When I visited the school, I was told the principal who was supposed to clear me was not there. The next time they asked me to produce my clearance form, which I had left at school," said Kipngetich, who has since opted to work as waiter at a hotel in Kericho town.

He said despite attaining a mean grade of B (minus), he was unable to enrol for any course without the certificate.

"I have tried in vain to raise the amount," he said.

For Gladys Yegon from Sogoo, Narok County, a now-former principal adamantly told her the directive was a political statement and the school was not going to honour it.

She said she was told to clear her arrears of Sh27,300 if she really needed her certificate.

"My parents could not raise the amount as I had other siblings who were still in school. I did menial jobs with a view to raising the amount but gave up after unsuccessfully doing that for three years," she said, adding that when she realised there was no hope of her furthering her education, she opted for marriage.

Kipngetich and Yegon aren't sure the latest Government decree will yield fruit. A few years ago, the Government had issued a similar directive to all schools to release certificates to all Form Four leavers irrespective of whether they had cleared school fees.

But that was never to be as head teachers insisted that school leavers would only be issued with the documents once they cleared with their former schools.

Monday, school heads contacted by The Standard maintained they could not release the certificates because the school leavers had fees arrears running into millions.

A head teacher from Narok County said if the directive was implemented, then schools will collapse.

"Schools incurred expenses as they had to feed the students. These are bills that, as schools, we must pay. If the Government is serious about the directive, then it should have assisted by clearing the fees arrears," said the principal.

The data of Form Four leavers in Kericho who are yet to pick their KCSE result slips and certificates is not clear but several principals told The Standard that they were holding hundreds of such crucial documents.