Magoha: No child will be sent home for school fees

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Pupils in class. Photo/PD/File

The Government yesterday assured that no child would be sent home over lack of fees when schools re-open next month.

In an announcement that will ease pressure for many parents who were agonising about fees when the government announced the planned resumption of studies, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha appealed to managers of public schools, not to send away learners for lack of money.

“For boarding schools, the tuition part is also free, the only fee that the parents pay is what the children consume in the house. And my teachers are not animals, they are ready to listen to those parents and we should treat every case as it comes,” the CS said.

Magoha said that the Constitution provides that primary education is free and compulsory and, therefore, no learner should be turned away for lack of fees.

Creative and innovative

He insisted that appropriate dates to resume learning will be announced at a later date, following consultations with various stakeholders, down-playing reports that schools would reopen on October 19.

“I refer you to the Constitution, primary education is compulsory and free. If a parent chooses to take a child to a private school then look for fees to pay.

If you have no fees, come back to public school, we will take your child because the government has directed that we should have 100 per cent transition,” the CS explained after meeting education stakeholders at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development yesterday.

As far as secondary schools are concerned, the CS said that 75 per cent of them are day institutions, which are also free.

He also announced that education stakeholders had agreed that teachers start reporting back to school in preparation for reopening.

He said teachers should prepare for a possible reopening at whatever time will be agreed upon.

“The stakeholders agreed that teachers can come latest Monday next week and because of delocalisation, if you arrive on September 28 it is still fine. We want schools to be habitable,” the CS stated.

He said that a few schools had been damaged in the last few months, adding that children in the affected institutions will be placed elsewhere in the meantime.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Secretary Nancy Macharia, who attended yesterday’s meeting, directed all teachers to report to their duty stations by Monday next week.

“We have deliberated on this matter as stakeholders and it is now time for teachers to report back to schools. We are asking teachers to continue being creative and innovative,” said Macharia.

Magoha explained that the directives also applied to private schools.

 “I am the Education minister and what I have said affects private schools. In fact, if they were to re-open on their own, they could have done so earlier but it is because all children are equal, they must open together,” he added.

On basic education, the CS said the meeting agreed on a timetable which will be forwarded to a larger committee, for concurrence after which it will be announced officially.

Phased reopening

People Daily, however, learnt that there are proposals to reopen on October 19 or earlier, which will act as the second term for classes the learners were in, when learning was suspended in March.

Should schools resume next month, there are proposals to have the term run through to December 18, then take a two-week break to resume in January, 2021.

Should the proposal be adopted, the national examinations could be conducted in April next year and students can move to the next level in June.

Another proposal suggests phased reopening that would see Standard 7 as well as Form Three and Form Four students resume on October 19.

Yesterday, the CS also weighed in on the Sh1.9 billion desk project, dismissing critics doubting the procurement of locally assembled furniture.

He stated that desks will be delivered, saying no scandal will take place when “I am the Education CS.”

Head of Infectious Disease Unit, Loise Ombajo, said the country is at a reasonably safe place in terms of infection rate for coronavirus, which is now at 5 per cent or less.

“The number of cases reported has been going down, a sign that the rate of transmission in the community has also gone down,” she said.

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