National Parents Association National Chairman Silas David Obuhatsa. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Schools across the country proceed for mid-term break this week putting to question the safety of students amid ongoing demonstrations over the controversial Finance Bill.

Originally scheduled for June 20 to June 24, the break was moved to June 26 to 28, according to a revised school calendar following the heavy floods experienced in April and May.

The mid-term break coincides with the planned week-long protests against the Finance Bill, 2024, raising concerns that students might be caught in the demonstrations or even influenced to participate.

This has caused worries that student safety could be compromised during their travel home and during the break itself.

Silas Obuhatsa, the chairman National Parents Association on Sunday called on schools to make arrangements for students’ transport as they leave school.

“We have asked the Ministry of Education to provide clear guidance on how student safety will be ensured, especially those traveling home during the demonstrations,” said Obuhatsa. 

He urged parents to take responsibility for their children’s safety during the break.

“Teenagers are susceptible to peer pressure. It’s crucial for parents to monitor their children and ensure they don’t get involved in protest activities,” noted Obuhatsa.

Schools are facing a financial crunch with headteachers saying running day-to-day operations is an uphill task because of the delay in the release of capitation funds more than a month after the start of second term. 

Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) chairman Willy Kuria said day secondary schools are shouldering a greater burden as they solely depend on capitation to fund operations.

Kuria who the principal Murang’a High School, indicated that the situation is not very different for boarding secondary schools where head teachers face double predicament of delay in government funding and direct fees paid by parents.

“Schools did not receive the full amount of capitation funds they were set to get for the first term,” said the KESSHA boss.

While launching the fourth National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2023-27 Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu announced that schools will receive capitation for the second term in the course of June. 

“We are at an advanced stage of ensuring that second term capitation will be released in the course of this month. No school will close because 50 per cent capitation was given to both primary and secondary schools,” he said. 

Machogu said schools will get 30 per cent capitation for the second term. 

“The final term which will be the third term we will be able to give the remaining 20 per cent,” he added.