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Parents to pay more after school fees subsidy stops

 Parents buy books in Nairobi. Parents will pay more after the government ended school fees subsidy. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Parents have been dealt a major blow after the government announced end of fees subsidy from January.

A circular by Basic Education PS Jwan Julius says the fees holiday that saw some parents get reprieve of up to Sh8,500 will end as government reverts to fees charged before Covid-19.

The move, which will be a big setback for parents who are already feeling the pinch of harsh economic times, will see those with children in national and extra-county schools pay Sh53,554 up from the present Sh45,000.

Parents with children in county and sub-county boarding secondary schools will now pay Sh40,535 per year, up from Sh35,000.

This means that as parents enjoy the Christmas and New Year holidays, they will need to budget for additional fees that will range between Sh5,535 and Sh8,500.

Those with children in day schools will, however, continue to pay lunch fees as the government will continue to shoulder the Sh22,400 to cater for tuition and other expenses.

But parents have pleaded with the government to continue subsidising fees until the economic situation improves.

National Parents Association chairperson, David Obuhatsa, urged the government to consider the challenges parents are going through.

''Since Covid-19, parents have been going through difficult times especially in these hard economic times,'' said Mr Obuhatsa.

Revised school calendar

He urged the government not to further strain the parents, adding that learners should not be forced to wear school uniforms.

Metrine Akinyi, a parent at the Lwak Girls' Secondary School in Siaya said the country is still recovering from the General Election, drought and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Justifying the return to old fees, Dr Jwan argued that the revised school calendar for 2023 will have longer weeks.

''Given that the academic calendar will revert to 39 weeks from 30 weeks for the academic year commencing January 23, parents will continue to pay approved fees,'' he said.

According to the new calendar, term one starts on January 23 and ends on April 21, while the second term runs from May 8 to August 11, followed by a two-week holiday.

 Basic Education PS Jwan Julius. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The final term will start on August 28 up to November 3, paving the way for three weeks of holiday. All the terms have a mid-term break.

The reviewed payments will, however, come as good news to teachers who had protested the high cost of running schools after fees were reduced.

Broken down, of the Sh53, 554 that parents with learners in national and extra-county schools will pay, Sh30,385 will go to boarding equipment and stores, Sh20,371 transport and travel, administrative costs, heating and lighting, and personnel emolument.

In addition, Sh2,000 will go to maintenance and improvement, while Sh798 will be put aside for activity fees.

In county and sub-county secondary schools classified as Category B, where parents pay to transport and travel, administrative costs, heating and lighting, and personnel emolument while Sh2,000 will go to maintenance and improvement, with Sh250 set for activity fees.

In special needs boarding schools, the government has enhanced a capitation to Sh57,974 per learner.

For these learners, there will be a government subsidy of Sh23,220 per student for boarding with a top up grant of Sh12,510 to cater for assistive devices and other additional personnel needs.

However, parents with children in these schools will pay Sh12,790. Of this, Sh10,790 will supplement boarding while Sh2,000 will go to maintenance and improvement.

Another Sh5,000 from the government per learner will be set aside for improving infrastructure.

For Free Day Secondary Education, the government will release capitation of Sh22,244 annually per learner.

The circular states that out of the Sh2,000 students medical vote head, the government will retain Sh1,350 for students' medical cover while Sh650 will be disbursed to schools to meet insurance related expenses.

Consequently, schools have received Sh4,144 per learner for expenses related to tuition that comprise teaching materials and exams.

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