School Fees Hasn’t Changed, Machogu Clarifies Fee Increment

Hike School Fees at Your Own Risk, Machogu Warns Principals

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has warned high school principals against hiking fees when schools reopen.

The warning follows threats of increasing fees by a section of school heads months ago, especially for feeding programmes and other consumables. They cited the steep prices of commodities, which has made the running of the learning institutions costly.

Parents have complained that some schools raise the fees silently and force compliance by sending learners home or barring them from sitting exams.

Jogoo House fears this trend will continue unless arrested ahead of Form 1 admissions on January 15, 2024.

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On Monday, Machogu said head teachers should not issue irregular circulars demanding extra payments from parents aside from what is sanctioned by Jogoo House.

He was speaking at Lenana School when he announced the results of Form 1 selection and placement.

Machogu said principals have no authority to increase fees.

He warned that principals will be punished should they be found violating the Ministry of Education’s policy on fees payment in terms of the amounts set and the manner of their collection.

The CS said the tough economy has affected many parents and increasing school fees will be unfair to them.

“I wish to state that the boarding fees charged in public secondary schools will remain unchanged in 2024,” CS Machogu said.

“If any monkey business is done anywhere, the information will come. Parents are undergoing difficult financial challenges. Unless there is express approval from my office, no fee increase should happen.”

“If I get it [that] has been increased, you [principals] will be the first victims.”

He said no schools should start releasing new circulars demanding more fees.

“Don’t go beyond the powers given to you,” he told the school heads.

Machogu tasked regional and county directors of education with the responsibility of ensuring the directive is implemented.

“Your main responsibility as county and regional directors of education is to ensure that no principal levies any additional fee,” he added.

Machogu also said no secondary school should force parents to make purchases of uniforms from one specific outlet as students are admitted to Form 1.

The CS said the ministry is committed to ensuring parents and guardians with learners joining Form 1 are not burdened with unnecessary requirements that have extra financial implications.

“Parents and guardians will have the liberty to source school uniforms from any distributor of their choice so long as the outfits comply with the specifications of respective schools,” Machogu said.

“Schools have been asked to provide the specifications of their uniform, which include design, quantity required, and colour or shade.”

Machogu said the move would empower parents to make choices that suit their budgets.

“We also know what has been happening with these school uniforms where people have been making business out of it. Let the parents know the uniform required for their children as they join Form 1,” he said.

The CS said it is not the responsibility of the school principal to buy uniforms, keep them in the school and when the parents bring  students, they are told “this is the uniform and then this is the amount of money you are supposed to pay”.

“The principal’s responsibility is not to transact business. It is not upon him to make some arrangement that Machogu has a shop somewhere so he is directing parents to go to Machogu’s shop. We want parents to have their freedom,” he said.

The CS said he fears there is an element of collusion between some school heads and uniform suppliers who have turned themselves into cartels overcharging and harassing parents during Form 1 admissions.

He said this has locked out learners from poor backgrounds from accessing quality uniforms.

“Education should be accessible to all even those from low-income backgrounds,” Machogu said.

The CS announced that 22,081 boys and 20,876 girls who sat this year’s KCPE exam were placed in national schools. Another 2,225 learners placed in special needs schools, 274,746 in extra county schools, 288,201 in county schools and 792,230 in subcounty institutions.

Some 717,358 boys and 682,971 girls sat this year’s KCPE exam as curtains closed on the 8-4-4 education system in primary schools.

In the placement, all candidates who scored 400 marks and above were placed in either national or extra county schools.

Learners with special needs were placed either in regular or special needs schools based on their disability categories, merit and choice, the CS said.

Kabianga High School topped the list of most sought-after school, with 186,357 learners selecting it against the available capacity of 672.

Nanyuki High School with 480 spaces was picked by 158,741 learners while Pangani Girls was the third with 144,542 applying against 384 chances.

The fourth most selected school was Kapsabet Boys with 143,723 against 432 spaces. Alliance Girls High School was fifth after 135,033 learners selected it against 384 available slots.

Maseno School was number six with 123,777 learners selecting it, Nakuru High School was seventh with 115,513.

Butere Girls High School was the eighth-most desired school by 114,635 learners.

Mangu High School was ninth having been selected by 112,938 learners.  Alliance High School was number 10 with 110,839 learners picking it.

With the 8-4-4 in its sunset days and CBC system getting entrenched, the CS said the government was ramping up infrastructure to accommodate Junior Secondary learners. He said the aim is to ensure they are ready by 2025.

He said Sh3.9 billion has been earmarked for the construction of classrooms for Junior School this financial year.

A further Sh9 billion will be provided by the World Bank, to support the construction of 9,000 classrooms, he said.

“This, together with support from the CDF, [the state] will ensure that we will be ready with the required 15,021 classrooms for Grade 9 learners by 2025,” Machogu said.

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