Children’s bursary cash not fit for human consumption
What you need to know:
- Every year, taxpayers’ money is diverted into the respective kitties of political representatives to send needy children to school
- Instead, this money ends up not seeing the inside of any school’s bank account.
This coming week, Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates who said they don’t want to be politicians will be reporting to the secondary schools they bought with their own grades.
This annual pilgrimage is always a scene to behold. There will be premium tears at the sight of parents disappearing out of the school gate. Those who are used to walking on thorns and using their mouths to decant drinking water are going to have a soft life; while those who look at house helps with bad eyes whenever they need the TV remote will see what Lenkipika saw in a deserted hut in Ololulung’a in 1906.
Unfortunately, this secondary school experience is going to remain a fairy tale for many children.
The media were this week littered with stories of Form One students stranded at home without money to visit the nearest jua-kali shed for that metallic box that once served oil barons.
There have been many cases of desperate children whose parents have walked to the four corners of the earth to kneel at the foot of well-wishers, but instead came back home with sore feet and teary eyes.
We cannot continue like this anymore. There comes a time when the country is bigger than the stomachs of those eating our children’s bursary money.
Every year, taxpayers’ money is diverted into the respective kitties of political representatives to send needy children to school, but instead this money ends up not seeing the inside of any school’s bank account.
A famous comedian once joked that were Jesus to be instructed to choose Kenya as his country of return on the Day of Judgment, he would have cut his links with God, because the chances of surviving in Kenya are so slim he might even be rounded up and crucified again.
Management by threats
We laugh about this joke because we don’t want any further delays in occupying heavenly mansions being built for the poor; since we believe they are better than the Affordable Housing Project by the Jubilee government.
Kenyan parents have gone through a lot in the past year and a half. They have fought Covid-19 with bare hands, outpaced the Kenya Police officers chasing after them with whips and batons on their way back from work, and just when they thought things were beginning to look up, the government informs them that there will be no financial glucose for their intelligent kids running out of energy to join Form One.
We have arrived at that moment when living in Kenya has to be declared an extreme sport and be registered for the Olympics. The world must know that the Kenyan government has other hidden sports talents other than corruption, empty promises and white elephants.
The Jubilee government promised 100 per cent transition to secondary education. They took advantage of the economic vulnerability of Kenyan parents to knowingly sell them false hope, and now is the time for them to be taken to account for gaining power by false pretense.
The Education ministry should know it isn’t enough to warn school heads not to send away children who don’t have school fees. There are many areas where management by threats is likely to scare trees into dropping you sweet fruits, but running of schools isn’t one of them.
Schools don’t grow money on trees to feed students who cannot afford fees. No bed-making factory accepts word of mouth as a medium of exchange, neither is there a lawn-mower that runs whenever it hears the Minister of Education reminding us he’s Magoha son of Magoha.
There has to be a sustainable way in which this school fees issue is sorted out once and for all. Otherwise one day this country will wake up and find our children resistant to our bad political flu, and it won’t be because they are yet to be considered for the Covid-19 jab.
Mr Oguda writes on topical issues. [email protected]