Parents denounce difficult times with the reopening of schools
Bookstores and school uniform stores recorded sustained activity even as parents complained about tough economic times.
âI was only able to get a few items for my son due to financial constraints. I hope the school administration will allow her in as I struggle to get more to buy the remaining items, âsaid Jane Wairimu, a relative of Kitale.
Many parents interviewed spoke of the challenges of raising funds to cover their children’s education costs.
âI struggled to raise the school fees for my two children and it’s a nightmare for me. I operate a restaurant in Kitale, but the income is not good because of Covid-19. I don’t know how to increase the required fees, âsaid John Maina.
In Nandi, the parents who spoke to The standard cited tough economic times that made it difficult to make ends meet. Gladys Kosgei, who did not go to church to spend most of the day yesterday morning shopping for her son, said she did not have enough money to buy everything. was required by the school.
âI don’t have the money to buy more than six books for my son who is joining Form One at one of the local schools. With only 3,000 Sh, I have to choose three books for the first trimester, âMs. Kosgei said. A store worker said that in the past week they were able to care for more than 2,000 customers, mostly parents who were buying books for their children who were returning to school.
A spot check in Kisumu town yesterday revealed long lines at book and uniform stores, with parents saying prices for basic commodities had risen.
Although Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the government had obtained textbooks for all learners, parents said they were given long lists of books. Adan Hussain, a parent who had visited Anvi Bookstore in Kisumu, was overwhelmed as he tried to balance his budget to care for his three children. âThe booksellers claim that the government tax increase has hit them hard and that they must put the burden on us, causing the prices of books to increase. A book I bought at Sh120 last year is now selling for Sh300. It’s sad, âAdan said.
Adan said he had to omit some books because his budget could not meet the new prices.
Phena Atieno, another parent, said she had to sacrifice some household needs to afford the books for her three children.
With the economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Atieno said many parents have been overwhelmed. âThe government should come to our aid. This is when we need government the most, âshe said.
In Taita-Taveta County, parents will have to dig more into their pockets following the introduction of additional fees by some public high schools.
In separate fee structures of various schools seen by The standard, parents will also have to pay more for water, electricity and workers in their respective schools.
New parent-funded programs include academic progress, recruiting new teachers, PD days, and activities.
In some schools, parents claimed that principals doubled the fees from Sh35,000 to Sh70,000.
“We are now paying Sh 70,000 out of Sh 35,000. They have increased the development fund,” said a woman whose son is in boarding school.
At Canon Kituri Secondary School, parents will have to pay an additional 14,000 shillings for the upkeep of their children.
In addition, parents will have to buy two reams for the printing paper. Depending on the fee structure, parents will pay 35,000 shillings according to the government guideline for forms two and four.
School principal Ms Grace Mwawasi said parents and management agreed that students will be given tea and two rolls during tea break every day of the week.
She said each parent is required to pay Sh 500 per month for the same. âAll third and second year students are required to replace their old uniforms and shoes. Our school shoes must have laces. The bedspreads for the boys are blue and for the girls pink. The items are available at the school for 1,000 shillings, âsaid the principal.
âWe appreciate all parents and stakeholders for your support which has enabled us to achieve an upward trend in academic performance. Letâs continue to work as a great team to achieve better results, âsaid Mwawasi.
At Dr Aggrey Boys High School, Principal Rodgers Mwafungo said they had already met and agreed with parents to employ more teachers.
âWe have a serious shortage of teachers and we have met with parents to agree on how to employ more teachers. I have met parents with children in forms 1, 2 and 3 where we made a resolution. I will also be meeting with the parents of Form Four and if we don’t agree with them then I will respect their decision, âhe said. The standard yesterday.
The headmistress of the Bura Girls National School, Eunice Wambua, said her institution had not increased tuition fees.
She noted, however, that parents must be fully involved in the matter to avoid confrontation.
Ms Wambua revealed that the fees had been reduced from Sh53,544 to Sh45,000 for national schools in accordance with the government directive.
âI think that for any additional levy, parents should be involved. However, some parents in the coastal region are engaging in policies that are detrimental to education, âsaid the director.