Uhuru: Day scholars should not be sent home for fees

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 00:00 |
Pupils of Oseth and Nyamrundu primary schools in Nyando Sub-county, Kisumu County, use boats to access their schools after they were marooned by Lake Victoria flood waters following a back flow yesterday. Each ride costs each pupil Sh30. Photo/PD/VIOLA KOSOME

President Uhuru Kenyatta has warned headteachers in day primary and secondary schools against sending learners away due to fees.

The President said action would be taken against school heads and Principals who defy the directive, saying the government is supporting all children from Grade One to Form Four in day schools.

“Let me be clear on this, for all children in day school – no headteacher has the authority to send learners home over school fees.

No child should be stopped from going to school because of school fees in any day school,” warned Uhuru in an interview with vernacular radio stations yesterday morning.

He, however, did not pronounce himself on boarding schools.

Funds disbursed

Last week, the government disbursed Sh19 billion to cater for Free Primary Education (FPE) and Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE).

Learning resumed fully on January 4, after nine months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha has led the assessment on learners’ resumption, with focus now being to ensure all learners who are yet to report back to school are traced.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, Uhuru said the first thing the government considered was protecting the lives of children, a situation he said was replicated across the globe.

He admitted that there are infrastructural challenges owing to prolonged closure coupled with congestion of learners, but the government is addressing the situation step-by-step.

“Children are now back to school, but that does not mean that there aren’t some underlying challenges owing to prolonged closures.

Our stand was to have children back to school first after which we will address the challenges, one-by-one instead of saying that children should continue staying at home,” said the president.

He said the Cabinet and Principal Secretaries have been going round the schools to identify the problems, rectify them and children can have a good learning environment.

“I agree that there are some areas with challenges, but I ask our parents and children to withstand the problems. I want to promise them that we will walk this journey together.

The most important thing is to have children back to school and we can slowly go back to where we were before Covid-19,” he said.

At the same time, Uhuru regretted the level of moral decay among learners saying that everyone, including parents, religious leaders and the society, needs to come in and provide guidance.

He said government alone cannot enforce good conduct among learners, saying it is a societal responsibility and more than ever, children need to be monitored on what they watch, listen to and what they are doing.

“I want to tell the people that this is not a government’s problem; it is moray decay and needs all of us to come in.

As parents, religious leaders and the society we all have a responsibility to guide our children; we need to know what they are doing and what to do together with the government to address the situation.

“The government does not have the capacity to go to all homes, but parents can do that to guide children to get out of this problem for the sake of their future,” said the President.

Worrying conduct

There have been reports of questionable behaviour amongst learners since learning resumed two weeks ago, the most recent being the killing of a guard.

The guard at Nyang’ori PAG High School in Vihiga county was attacked by a Form Three student on Saturday night and died while receiving treatment.

In yet another incidence, a Form Two student in Nyamira, who was armed with a panga, was arrested for threatening to slash a teacher.

President Uhuru also assured KCPE and KCSE candidates of government’s support as they prepare to sit for their exams in March.

“The candidates will sit for exams after a difficult situation and we urge them to do their best. We will not abandon you,” assured Uhuru.

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