Education ministry ordered secondary schools to refund parents’ fees charged besides that which the government has recommended in public secondary schools
By Ivy Maloy
Parents do not believe they can be refunded the extra school fees they paid despite an order by the Education Ministry. Kenya Parents Association chair Nicholas Maiyo on Tuesday said despite Education CS George Magoha’s efforts to outline government set fees, head teachers remain defiant.
On Tuesday, the Education ministry ordered secondary schools to refund fees charged beyond the amount recommended by the government. In July, the ministry set fees for national schools at Sh45,054 and county schools at Sh35,035. Maiyo says the directive comes as a reprieve but fear that will have zero execution in many schools.
“This can easily turn into just another declaration that will be ignored. How will the ministry ensure it is followed?” Maiyo said. The directive also cautioned schools against sending students home for failing to clear any arrears that exceed the set fees.
“Any fees collected above the revised guidelines be refunded or treated as prepayment of fees for continuing students. No child will be sent away for non-payment of such fees,” the circular dated August 9 reads.
However, Maiyo notes that the directives by the ministry are blatantly ignored by principals. “What are the measures in place to ensure what he says are not just mere declarations,” he asked. In his proposal, Maiyo wants the government to set matters right by cracking down on schools that have been charging extra levies and compel them to account for how the funds were spent.
“There is a particular need to ensure the millions paid by parents over the years in illegal levies are accounted for,” Maiyo said on Tuesday. Maiyo also proposes that the anti-graft agency and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations be invited to schools to conduct forensic audits.
The circular by the Education ministry notes that it had received complaints about schools charging illegal levies outside the guidelines. In response, it has tasked regional directors of education to crack down on schools that will be found to levy more than the recommended amount and report to the ministry.
“All the county and sub county directors of education are directed to report to the Principal Secretary any board of management whose institution is charging illegal levies with immediate effect.”You are notified that any unreported case(s) of a school(s) charging illegal levies will attract sanction on the responsible officer,” the circular reads.
Schools wishing to impose any fees will be required to seek authorization. “Any school that desires to charge amounts above the stipulated fees must make a formal request to the Cabinet Secretary and will only charge after written authorization has been granted,” Magoha said.