Some secondary school heads have sent students on an early mid-term break. This is about one week ahead of schedule.
The initial school calendar indicated that the learners were to break next week on Thursday 29 and were to return on July 2.
In a circular dated April 24, Basic Education PS Bellio Kipsang reviewed the start of mid-term date by one day. Dr Kipsang said that the mid-term break would now start next week on Tuesday, June 27.
Kipsang said the review was occasioned by a request by secondary school heads to give them room for their 46th annual conference scheduled for next week.
“The ministry recognizes that the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) conference is an important event that allows schools managers to make a review and share experiences in running of schools,” said Kipsang.
Kessha chairman Kahi Indimuli had requested the ministry to extend the learners mid-term break, saying the meeting coincided with the break.
But even with the change of the mid-term dates, some schools have already sent learners home, nearly one week before time, raising questions.
It has emerged that some schools have sent learners home early, citing inadequate funds to keep learners in school. Others cited the on-going sub-county music festival as the reason for sending learners home.
Parents who spoke to The Standard said that they were confused on why learners were being sent home early.
But their association chairman Silas Obuhatsa shied away from speaking for the parents.
“I have been invited to the heads conference and I do not want to be subjected to humiliation during the event,” said Obuhatsa.
Some parents questioned the wisdom of sending children home early as the government had just released billions to schools.
“We feel betrayed by our association because they should be asking the hard questions on our behalf,” said a parent of a city school.
Last week, the PS issued a circular indicating release of funds to schools and warning principals against sending learners home.
Kipsang had signed a circular indicating that funds had been disbursed to schools. In the circular, the PS indicated that the Sh24 billion was to clear the last tranche.
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Kipsang also warned heads not to send learners home over school fees.
But a principal who sought anonymity said the government had issued some policies which affect the smooth running of institutions.
“When the ministry announced the release of funds, it is difficult to collect fees from parents. This complicates our work considering that the funds are not enough,” said the school head.
Another teacher said they are using the opportunity to send learners for fees, noting that failure by the government to disburse sufficient funds informed their decision.
“We expected Sh21,945.55 for each learner to cover last quarter, 50 per cent of first term and 30 per cent for second term. This was like an insult.”
Indimuli said he had raised the concern with Education CS Ezekiel Machogu, urging him to revert to the termly disbursement of capitation on 50:30:20 ratio.
“We don’t operate in quarters as other government departments, our operations are on a termly basis,” Indimuli said.