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Education Director Bans ‘Illegal’ Fees/Levies In A ‘Thika’ School, Demands Parents Be Refunded.

Moi Primary School headteacher trying to address the irate parents who had demonstrated against his decision to sack the school's chef. Inset: An extract of the fee structure paid by new admissions.
Parents and pupils of Moi Primary School in Gatanga Sub-County of Murang’a had a rude shock on the first day of 2017 when they were locked out of the school compound by the authorities who had employed the services of armed police officers.

The bone of contention was a dispute that arose after the school’s cateress was dismissed without the authority of the parents. The standoff between the school management and the parents opened a can of worms that left the School Board of Management (BOM) with an egg on the face.

Hon. Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein, who is Kamenu Ward MCA in Thika Town Constituency, explained that as parents in the school, they were shocked to learn that the BOM had opted to terminate the services of a long serving member of the school catering department without giving the parents an option to debate on the matter.

“This cateress has served our kids well for the last 15 years and as parents we have never complained about her services. What logic did the BOM use to take over the kitchen without even consulting us? They have gone ahead to lock the gate and deploying armed policemen to deny us entry into the school. How does the head teacher expect to run the school without involving the stakeholders?” asked the MCA.

The parents reckoned that they had no issue with the payment of school fees but they were unhappy on the latest developments where the head teacher and the BOM had started running the school like an exclusive members’ club where affairs were ran in utmost privacy.

“New parents in the school have been turned into cash cows. They are forced to pay Sh. 45,000 admission fee which in the first place is never receipted. This has brought about a cartel where old parents are denied vacancies to have their younger children join the school. The rest of us have to pay an average of Sh. 10,000 per term as Academic Fund and Feeding Programme,” said George Kinya, who has been a parent in the school for the last 7 years.

They also lamented the drop in examination results, notwithstanding some other very suspicious levies such as a sh. 4,000 per pupil to complete a sh. 2 million abolition block and other levies to buy a school bus.

Responding to the allegations, the school head teacher William Kamau said that they had outsourced the services of the security officers due to fear of attack by the parents as they had gotten wind that there were planned demonstrations. He added that the contract of the cateress in question had expired in the year 2013 and they were left with no other option but to terminate it forthwith.

“When intelligence tells us that there is demonstrations, we cannot let anybody harm our children. The BOM decided to take over the management of the kitchen programme. The issue in question here is that of incitement. These parents are being incited by the sacked cateress,” said the head teacher.

Kamau declined to comment about the kind of levies charged to parents saying that he was not aware of such payments.

Records at our disposal indicated that the school charge sh. 44,290 for new admissions and an average of sh. 10,000 per term for old pupils per term, depending on the class level.

Gatanga Deputy County Director of Education James Koigi immediately banned any fees and levies charge by the school and ordered the head teacher to refund all moneys collected from the parents. He also put to a halt the feeding programme and asked each parent to make individual arrangements on how their kids would be having their meals at school.

“It is against government policy for any public primary school to charge fees or levies without authorization from the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Education. What has been happening here is illegal and I immediately order the BOM of this school to stop it forthwith and immediately refund back all money they have collected from the parents,” said the DCDE.

He added that the action to charge such exorbitant levies disadvantaged children from poor families as none of them could afford to be admitted to the school.

“There is no school in Kenya known as ‘Public-Private’. All this is unacceptable and meant to make the school an exclusive members’ club for the rich and able. This must stop and poor children in the vicinity must be allowed to enjoy government facilities and services under the free Primary Education. If the parents so wish, they can apply to revert the school into a private institution, thereby allowing the government to fully withdraw its teachers and services,” said Kamau.

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