Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has warned school heads against imposing unwarranted demands on Form One students ahead of their admission on Tuesday, May 3.
Speaking when he announced the placement of form ones, Magoha sent out a stern warning to school heads, accusing them of denying deserving students admission because of random items that are not approved by the ministry.
The list of items includes exercise books, novels, class readers or set books, mathematical sets, atlases, photocopy papers and fulscaps.
In addition, the Education boss imposed a ban on schools asking learners to report with items that are not academic related among them hockey sticks, machetes (pangas) and hoes (jembes).
The tough-talking CS explained that the move was in line with the government’s mandate to make basic education affordable. He vowed to protect parents from being overburdened by unnecessary expenses.
According to Magoha, it is a government priority that learning is affordable and accessible for every child in Kenya, as witnessed through the 100 per cent transition policy.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to ensure that parents/guardians with learners who will be joining Form One are not overburdened with unnecessary requirements that increase the cost of education. Principals should exercise caution while listing student requirements as part of the measures to reduce the cost of education,” he said.
Some of the items principals should not demand from Form 1 students include Exercise books, Class readers/novels, Photocopying papers, Full scalps, Atlas, Mathematical tables, Hockey sticks, pangas, jembes slashers, hand brushes among others.
Further, the Education Ministry has directed, that parents will only pay school fees equivalent to the amount stated by the government.
Schools have further been warned against turning away learners for not paying higher fees and other levies. Parents are encouraged to report the matter to the nearest Education office for action.
“Schools must adhere to the fees guidelines showing how much parents are required to pay per category of school. As with last year, the Ministry will mount a nationwide monitoring exercise to ensure that Form One students join the schools they were selected to and that fee guidelines are strictly adhered to,” said Magoha.
Government Subsidy And School Fees
During this financial year, the government released Sh62 billion under the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE).
“In this regard, I wish to point out that the Government provides KSh22,244 to cover tuition and related expenses for all public secondary school students. The Government provides capitation under Free Day Secondary Education for tuition, operations, and infrastructure improvement disbursed to schools based on enrollment,” he said.
Principals and Boards of Management have been directed to ensure the availed funds are used for the intended purposes which will also facilitate the 100 per cent transition policy.
Elimu Scholarship Programme
The Government has offered full scholarships for secondary education to 18,000 learners over the past two years.
This year, the government will make available 9,000 more scholarships. Out of these, 4,000 beneficiaries will be drawn from the slums.
The aim according to Magoha is to,” enable many of the learners to break the ceiling and liberate their families from Dehumanising urban poverty.”
“Bursaries and scholarships should be given to students admitted to boarding schools since day schooling is free. However, for boarding school well-wishers and philanthropists are encouraged to consider covering costs of other non-tuition related expenses such as school uniforms and personal effects for children who are needy,” said Magoha.
In line with the government’s policy of 100 per cent transition to secondary school, all the 1,225,502 candidates that sat for the KCPE exams have secured places in the country’s 9,200 public schools. As soon as schools open, education field officers will monitor and track down learners who fail to report to school.
Magoha officially launched the placement exercise on Monday, while calling on parents to access instructions on how their children will join secondary school as well as identifying which school they have been placed at by sending the candidates’ index number to 22263.