No 'illegal fees' added as students join Form One

Parents and students at Ng'iya Girls wait their turn during an admissions exercise at the school. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Poor infrastructure, a shortage of classrooms, and financial challenges characterised the first day of Form One admission.

However, school heads have said they will not introduce illegal levies as part of the school fees.

Aquinas High School Principal Stephen Githii said raising school fees would add more financial strain to parents, considering the current economic challenges.

He mentioned challenges with accommodation space for dormitories and classrooms but assured that available resources would be utilised to ensure comfort.

"The government has allocated Sh22,244 to every student enrolled in public schools. Parents of those admitted to boarding schools will only top up a small fee to cater for accommodation and meals," he said.

Githii further said the majority of the admitted students face financial challenges, and imposing additional levies would burden them with debts owed to schools.

"We have allocated a desk where parents with financial difficulties can be addressed. We cannot turn the students away with the current financial situation. Asking their parents for more money is like going to milk a bull.

"They are struggling with the small fees recommended by the government and can't pay more," he said, a sentiment shared by Deputy Principal, Academic Orlando Maloba.

"We need to get extra space in the boarding and tuition section to accommodate this big number, but we cannot achieve it by charging parents more fees," he said.

This is a replica at Ofafa Jericho High School, where school Principal Anthony Thuo said schools are struggling with a lot of debts owed to them by students.

"Even the current and former students owe us a lot of funds, making it difficult to pay our recurring expenditure. How do you charge the parents more when you know well that they will not be able to pay," he said.

The school, which can accommodate 400 students, had admitted 150 students by midday.

"The school has enough dormitories and classes to accommodate all the learners, apart from the desks, which we know will be a major challenge. However, we will not turn away our students," said the principal.

He said the school allowed parents a free market to source for requirements at their discretion.

"So far, we have noticed several learners coming with different shades of uniforms, but as a school, we cannot send them away. The majority of parents have spent a good sum of funds, and we have accommodated them the way they are," he said.