Parents and school heads want President William Ruto to step in and avert a looming stalemate as schools reopen for the third term of the 2022 academic year.
With students reporting to school on Monday, September 26, parents decried having to dig deeper to pay school fees after bursaries issued from the National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) were withdrawn.
They thus wanted the funds reinstated, saying it offered them the much-needed cushion amid the biting economic times.
“The bursary our children got, regardless of how little it was, enabled our children to at least report to school as we searched for the deficit,” a parent lamented.
In addition, the caregivers protested the high school fees billing they received for the new term, adding that it was disproportionate to the length of the academic period – a result of the condensed academic calendar.
Nonetheless, they resorted to new strategies in meeting the financial obligation including entering into financial commitments with the schools. Others pleaded with headteachers and principals to accept payment in kind.
“I have two children in primary and three in secondary school; I have subdivided the little I have so that everyone can have a portion of their fee paid while reporting. I will sign a promissory commitment on how I will clear the balance,” Pauline Mwikali stated.
“I am pleading with the school heads to allow parents who do not have money to pay using other forms including availing bags of maize, wheat, or firewood to the institutions,” Stanley Yego implored.
Chief Justice Martha Koome, on Monday, August 8, ruled that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was illegal and unconstitutional. Supreme Court found the CDF Act 2013 which allowed Members of Parliament to manage funds offended the division of the revenue and public finance law.
Meanwhile, school heads maintained that it would be nearly impossible to run the learning centres without finances. They requested President Ruto to disburse the capitation fee for the term as soon as possible.
Principals are also grappling with the shortage of teachers owing to the high enrollment numbers and want the government to improve the instructor-learner ratio.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha had assured that the learning institutions would receive the allotment from the state on September 26.
Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) Chair Peter Sitienei requested the government to also look into the special schools which were underfunded.
“My humble appeal to the government is to salvage the situation in special schools. We have struggled in the last three terms yet our learners have different needs compared to regular schools,” Sitienei stated.