Extend school term or reduce fees, parents petition George Magoha

back to school

Students board a matatu in Nyeri town on August 18, 2022. The government had closed schools due to the General Election. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

As millions of learners returned to classrooms yesterday, their parents have asked the government to extend this term by a week to allow candidates to prepare for examinations.

Additionally, they asked managements of schools to consider reducing school fees, should an extension of the term not be possible.

Learners closed for mid-term four days earlier than originally scheduled while their return date was pushed forward by four days, making them lose valuable time in a congested school calendar. However, on Wednesday, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha ruled out any extension of the term dates, saying that national examinations will be administered as per the schedule in November.

“Schools were to open on August 11, but this was pushed to August 18. Our appeal is that the school calendar be extended or if it is not possible, they reduce the school fees,” said Mr Nicholas Maiyo, the chairperson of the National Parents Association.

But speaking in Kiambu yesterday, Prof Magoha said the learners would catch up with learning. “Our children are extremely resilient. Quite a number of them had completed their syllabuses. They have enough time to revise and their safety is of importance. Because we’re in a difficult transition period, let us hope that everything will go on well and that there will be no other interference with the calendar. Should there be need (for schools to close again, in case of a presidential election re-run), there will be wide consultations,” he said.

He spoke as parents protested the increase in matatu fares to various destinations yesterday. Matatu operators increased fares by between Sh300 and Sh500 to various destinations. For instance, it cost travellers Sh1,200 to move from Kapsabet to Nairobi up from between Sh800 and Sh1,000.

“We want to appeal to the government to take stern action against matatu saccos taking advantage to increase fares,” Mr Maiyo stated.

The parents’ association asked state agencies to assure them on the safety of children as they travel back to various learning centres.

“This morning, we have fewer children in town which is not normal, but we anticipate that tomorrow, more will be traveling back to respective schools,” said Mr Maiyo, noting that there is need for assurance on the safety of children as they go back to schools after some parents raised concern.

Earlier in the week, the National Security Advisory Committee assured Kenyans of safety and peace across the country despite the presidential election results being contested.

 “The government has and continues to take all necessary measures to ensure that the entire country is safe and secure and calls on all Kenyan and business communities to resume their normal daily activities,” said Mr Joseph Kinyua, the head of public service.

A number of parents have also complained over the high cost of commodities.

“We are really struggling to raise money to get some of the commodities in the market,” said Paul Kemboi, a parent in Eldoret town.

Second term ends on September 16 when learners will close for just one week before reporting back for the third term of the 2022 academic year. This will be the end of the two-year crash programme occasioned by the Covid-19 interruption of 2020. The regular schools calendar will resume in January next year.

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