If a proposal from lawmakers is approved, parents whose children attend private schools could soon begin paying national examination costs for their kids as early as next year.
The government’s decision to cover tuition costs for students attending private institutions has, according to MPs, severely hampered the examination agency’s ability to operate.
The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) is now struggling, hence the MPs are now asking these parents to pay examination registration costs.
When KNEC Chief Executive Dr. David Njengere spoke before the Parliamentary Investment on Education and Governance, the specifics came to light.
The CEO of the Council went before the Committee to respond to inquiries from the auditor general.
Currently, the government pays about Sh800 per learner sitting for five subjects in primary school.
For secondary school, the state pays Sh5,000 for those sitting seven subjects, Sh5,400 for eight subjects, and Sh5,800 for those sitting nine subjects.
Committee chairman Jack Wamboka said private schools are in business and if parents pay fees, then they should pay for learners’ examination fees.
Wamboka said his committee will ensure enough money is set aside for the council to deliver its mandate.
“We have the best interest of this country at our heart. We will ensure you are financially sound,” Wamboka said.
“The purpose on which private schools are operating is to make money and there is no need for the government to fund their exams,” said Wamboka.
The response was an answer to Imenti South MP Shadrack Mwiti who had raised the matter of none payment to teachers who administered national examinations.
“Teachers who administered exams and police officers who secured the exams have not been paid their money after delivering their services,” MP said.
Njengere told MPs that the council is unable to deliver its obligations for lack of sufficient funds.
“We are unable to fund most of the obligations. We administer exams and pay some money in advance. We are waiting for supplementary funds so that we can pay the balance,” Njengere said.
The government had announced a waiver of examination fees to all students in both public and private schools sitting for national examinations.
While presenting the national budget for the fiscal year 2020/2021, then Treasury CS, Ukur Yatani committed that the government allocated Sh4 billion towards billing learners sitting KCPE and KCSE examinations for that year.
This may be the last year for the government to foot the bill for examination fees for students in private secondary schools.
Primary schools will not feel the heat since this year’s KCPE candidates will be the last lot before the full rollout of the Competency-Based Curriculum.
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