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Education Ministry says tuition ban still in force

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Updated Friday, April 12th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Augustine Oduor and Leah Gondi-Ogondi

Ministry of education has maintained that holiday tuition ban is still in force and warned parents and teachers that they would be prosecuted if they defy the directive.

Education Permanent Secretary George Godia and the former Education minister Mutula Kilonzo said it is now law that no child shall be subjected to holiday tuition.

Godia cited section 37(1) of the Basic Education Act that outlaws the practice and also prescribes a fine of Sh100, 000 or a jail term not exceeding five years.

He said as schools close this week, all children must stay home and participate in other non-academic activities that will enable them grow socially as well. The two officials spoke on Thursday at a farewell party for the outgoing minister.

They were responding to reports that some parents and teachers have ignored the law and coaching children even after schools closed.

Mutula produced a short text message sent to him by a head teacher saying “holiday ban was a Mutula issue” and warned that the law must be followed.

“This is now law. No child will be held back in class for tuition after schools close. That will never happen again in Kenya,” said Mutula.

Godia said schools close officially starting April 12 and open May 6.

“May I remind all education managers, teachers, parents and pupils that subjecting pupils to holiday tuition is a crime that attracts a penalty,” he said. “Let us allow the children to be children.”

Opinion has, however, been divided over the total ban on holiday tuition with some stakeholders saying weak children should be allowed to be coached. But Mutula said the law bans full classroom teaching when schools are closed.

“Weak children can be taught but what the Act is clear about is full classroom teaching. Even then, there should be no fee charged,” he said.

Last year, the ban on tuition came under sharp criticism from teachers unions and associations as well.

Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association asked the minister to consult widely before imposing the ban.

But speaking on Thursday, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said the ban is legal and warned teachers to comply.

Commission Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni asked TSC county directors to ensure the directive is followed. Lengoiboni already released a circular to all the 47 directors, saying the policy on holiday tuition still stands.

“No whole class tuition will be allowed to take place in any school,” read the note in part.

He also referred to the TSC Code of Conduct and Ethics (Legal Notice No 137 of 2003) Part 1 Section 15 (1)(a), which states: “A public officer shall not charge or accept any fee for tuition of a student.”


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