Members of Parliament yesterday pressed Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to order secondary school heads to release students’ academic certificates withheld over fees arrears.
The MPs said thousands of candidates are unable to apply for employment without the document, with many others resorting to unskilled jobs to eke out a living.
But Prof Magoha told the National Assembly Education Committee that only needy cases would be considered, adding that the rest should pay up or be listed with Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs).
Magoha said many owners of the held certificates were capable of paying off their arrears. Some, he noted, were business people and prominent members of society.
“If you are a teacher and you have never gone back to pay your fees arrears, then you should be reported to the CRB and get blacklisted.
“We shall find a way of identifying the needy cases so that schools can release the certificates. But there is a sizeable number that can pay,” Magoha said.
Secondary school heads yesterday said that institutions are owed over Sh20 billion by former students.
MPs heard that schools were weighed down by huge debts. “Many suppliers are not paid because schools are broke due to the many arrears. Schools need the balances yet students have left. This must be addressed even if it means waiving the arrears,” said Kilome MP Thaddeus Nzambia.
Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga told Magoha that Education officials were being dishonest on the matter.
“They are not telling you the truth. There are many certificates held in schools, with some dating back to the 1970s. Their owners have no use for them and will never pay,” Mr Odanga said.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia already issued a directive to all school heads to release the certificates.