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School Heads Vow To Increase School Fees Next term

Principals have announced plans to raise school fees starting next term following the government’s decision to reduce capitation per student. This move comes as a significant blow to parents, who will be sending their children back to school on Monday, July 1, 2024, after a one-week half-term break.

The government has decided to cut the annual capitation per learner from Sh22,244 to Sh17,000. Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu confirmed this reduction, stating, “Principals will have to contend with the Sh17,000 capitation we have been disbursing. It will not be possible to disburse Sh20,000 capitation per year per learner.” He also pledged to ensure the funds are disbursed on time.

In response to these financial constraints, principals have proposed increasing fees for National Schools from Sh53,000 to Sh69,000. They cite inflation and rising living costs as the primary reasons for this hike. The issue was a key topic at the recent Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) meeting held at Sheikh Zayed Hall in Mombasa county. According to Kessha National Chairman, Willy Kuria, the conference aimed to assess the sector’s successes, challenges, and possible solutions.

Kuria argued that the current fee of Sh53,000 is insufficient to run national schools. He explained, “There was a time we had asked the state to raise school fees, but by then we wanted it to be raised to Sh69,000. The Ministry has our fee increment document proposal. The whole concept of school fees and capitation should be relooked at.”

Despite schools being entitled to Sh22,244 per learner annually, this year they have received only Sh12,000, about 60% of the total amount. “That money is inadequate to run schools for a year. That is why we are insisting we need to come up with a new funding programme for secondary schools,” Kuria said.

Kuria further highlighted the breakdown of the Sh17,000 capitation: Sh5,000 is set aside for infrastructure development, leaving Sh12,000. Of this, Sh2,600 goes toward the centralized procurement of books and activities, resulting in approximately Sh10,400 available for tuition and operations. He noted that schools are essentially receiving the same capitation amount as they did in 2008, despite significant inflation since then. Kuria suggested that it might be time to involve parents in discussions about school fees.

Moses Nthurima, acting secretary general of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), also emphasized the disbursement challenges facing secondary schools. “Kuppet is aware that, as I speak here, schools have a deficit of Sh3,000 for the first term. Nothing so far has been remitted for Term Two which will soon come to a close,” he said, criticizing the Ministry of Education for retaining activity funds.

The reduction in capitation and the proposed increase in school fees highlight the ongoing financial challenges faced by Kenyan schools. Both school administrators and parents will need to navigate these changes as they work towards ensuring quality education for all students.

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