Ministry should not increase school fees

The government should in future send the full students’ capitation to schools on time to avoid the unnecessary fees burden on parents.

The principals of public boarding schools, especially at the secondary level, have been operating under duress due to the bureaucracy from the government in these difficult economic times.

They have in most cases been forced to incur debts of hundreds of thousands of shillings and occasionally charge parents extra fees just to ensure that food and other commodities are available in their learning institutions.

Parents have always assumed that headteachers have been increasing the fees for their personal benefit.

However, the problem lies squarely with the Ministry of Education which always delays in sending the capitation funds to the schools in full and on time.

On the other hand, the MoE has been telling parents and guardians not to pay extra levies while in the real sense, it fails to send schools funds on time.

Threats have also been issued to head teachers against ‘unnecessary increment of school fees.’

The fees guidelines currently in use were reviewed around 2014 and have never been adjusted since despite the current high taxes, excise duty and high cost of commodities and services.

My sympathy is with the head teachers who have been forced to carry the burden and shame of negotiating about debts with suppliers just to ensure that the operations of the schools are not jeopardised.

The other victims in this scenario are the students who are forced to eat half a rations to ensure continuity and availability of the diminishing food in the stores. The current regime has done exactly opposite of what it promised the people. There is need for a change of leadership within MoE.

- Damson Opiyo Onger, Kisumu

School head teachers are currently lobbying for a rise in school fees, blaming the current high cost of living and accusing the government of failing to release full capitation amounts.

Firstly, the current high cost of living is a reality that affects everyone, including parents who are struggling to make ends meet.

It is unreasonable to expect parents to bear the burden of increased school fees, especially when the government is not providing the full capitation amounts on time as promised.

The bid to raise school fees may be a symptom of a larger issue - the underfunding of public institutions. It is the responsibility of the government to provide adequate funding for public institutions, including schools.

The government should urgently address the issue of school fees and the underfunding of public institutions. This can be achieved by increasing the capitation amounts promised to schools.

- Rebecca Nyakoboke, Bungoma