Education CS Prof George Magoha [Photo: Courtesy]

The Ministry of Education has directed principals not to send learners who have not settled fee arrears home when schools reopen next week. Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, while speaking at Kisumu National Polytechnic yesterday, asked principals to be considerate towards learners who may lack school fees when they report to school on Monday.

The development comes as unprepared parents absorb the shock of the planned reopening, which they claim caught them off guard, with a majority struggling to raise funds. Yesterday, however, Magoha said learners with fees arrears should be allowed to continue with their education without any interruptions.

“As long as principals will still do their work, we want to ask them to ensure that no Kenyan child in the secondary school sector, especially in boarding schools, is sent home due to lack of fees. Every child must be admitted to school and the issue of fees will be sorted out later,” the CS said.

Also read: Reactions to Magoha's announcement on school reopening

Magoha defended the planned reopening and said the ministry was not going to let learners lose another year without going to school.

“We hope we shall recoup that year now that the curve is flattening,” said Magoha, adding that some parents were happy that the government’s decision was made by a thorough stakeholder consultation.

He said funds to support the free learning initiative have already been released to schools and only boarding institutions should demand fees. “The government allows all primary school children to be taught free of charge and the issue of school fees does not arise,” Magoha said.

Also read: Govt instructs schools to follow these protocols when they reopen

The ministry has promised to identify needy groups to benefit from 1.7 million masks being made. It will also ensure that all schools are linked to a health institution in case a child gets sick. “We have opened schools in the very strict hope that we will succeed and shall recoup the year which would otherwise be lost,” said Magoha.