Secondary school principals have threatened to increase fees due to delays in the disbursement of capitation.
The over 8,000 teachers also warned that they might do away with some programmes because of the rising cost of goods and services.
Speaking at the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) annual meeting in Mombasa, they said it was becoming difficult to run schools because of the escalating prices of foodstuff.
The school heads noted that the government capitation only pays for tuition, leaving them with the burden of financing other programmes like boarding, salaries for temporary teaching staff and food.
Kessha chairman, Kahi Indimuli, said the government was yet to clear the capitation arrears amounting to Sh9,000 per student for the 2021 and 2022 academic calendars.
“Several schools are struggling, and what we may be forced to do is to do away with some programs. Some schools have indeed given the parents a burden (increased fees). So schools are operating on very absurd conditions and may be forced to raise fees,” said Indimuli.
The principals explained that the government only released Sh17,000 and Sh18,000 per student for the two years instead of Sh22,240 per student per year.
“Despite the high cost of the commodities, the government was still insensitive to the allocation of capitation, which has been insufficient for the last two years. We are appealing to the government to release this money by July 30 because principals are having a rough time paying bills that the schools have incurred,” said Indimuli.
Mr Gilbert Wamalwa, principal of the Kibomet School in Kitale, said that the delay has done a lot of damage and has affected the welfare of learners.
“The parents have to pay for the high cost of educating their children... Some of the schools have been taken to court by suppliers.”
Director of School Audit Services at the Ministry of Education Victoria Angwenyi said it was the responsibility of parents to foot other expenses for their kids in school as the government takes care of tuition fees.
“A parent has to choose. If the parents bring the child to boarding school, tell them the government pays for education and not boarding. Stop this push and pull. The government pays capitation, and parents must pay for the other services and programmes,” said Angwenyi.
She asked the heads to make financial reports as recommended by the International Public Accounting and disclose their enrolment capacity and performance to help the ministry determine if their institutions require more teachers and facilities.
Paul Kibet, a director in the ministry, said the government had released capitation to 3,000 schools since January, but some had not acknowledged receipt. “If you don’t acknowledge receipt of the capitation, then it means you have not received the money, and extending the burden to parents,” said Kibet.
Meanwhile, school heads have been advised to empower teachers and mentor them to lead. President of the International Confederation of Principals, Peter Kent, said principals should tap skills from other teachers and even students.
“We need to use the skills of others to do other work. We need to work together as a team in collaboration of everybody,” Prof Kent told the conference.
“We should encourage the students to have their voice in decision making by asking them whether they were being taught effectively.”
Emphasising the impact of artificial intelligence, he said teachers must take information technology seriously because that is where the world was heading.
-Additional reporting by Wills Oketch