Parents Protest Exorbitant Cost Of Form One Items Sold By Schools.
As the 2022 school academic year begins, Form One students will report to their respective schools this week.
In addition to school fees, parents will pay more for books, bedding, stationery, and sports equipment, among other necessities, as a result of the current economic downturn.
Parents have objected to principals’ new requirement that all Form 1 items be purchased at school.
Most secondary schools have asked parents not to purchase any of the listed items outside of the schools in their calling letters to those joining Form 1.
Instead, they want the parents to bring cash and pay for the school supplies.
Parents claim that they have exceeded their authority and that the Ministry of Education should intervene.
In Kisumu, the majority of extra-county and county schools have instructed parents to pay for school uniforms on the day of reporting.
Most schools charge between Sh5,650 and Sh10,500 for school uniforms, according to admission letters. Learners must pay between Sh2,000 and Sh2,500 for jumpers and Sh350 for school identification cards.
When students report to school, some schools require them to pay cash for shoes, blankets, a three-inch mattress, jumpers, and bed covers.
Students at Nyang’ori Boys High School in Kisumu will pay more than Sh8,000 for their school uniform, which includes a jumper that costs Sh2,500.
According to the admission letters, students will pay Sh250 for a school ID on the reporting date, but parents are permitted to purchase other essential items such as mattresses, blankets, and shoes from stores of their choice.
The school uniform at St Cecilia Girls High School Misikhu costs Sh9,300, and a three-inch mattress costs Sh2,000.
Students will also have to pay Sh250 for stockings, Sh1,020 for bed covers, Sh400 for a bag, Sh2,250 for shoes, Sh350 for item labeling, and Sh350 for school ID.
Parents at Malava Boys High School in Western will pay Sh7,300 for school uniforms.
However, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) supported the decision of schools to sell uniforms.
Schools require students to wear one uniform, according to Secretary General Akello Misori, and allowing students to buy their uniforms from different stores “could jeopardize this.”
Parents suggested yesterday that the government issue a directive requiring schools to allow students to purchase uniforms and other items from stores of their choosing.
Nicholas Maiyo, chairperson of the National Parents Association, chastised school leaders for what he called “money minting” practices.
Principals, according to Maiyo, are exceeding their authority and should stop exploiting parents.
The representatives of parents inquired as to where the profit obtained by schools is taken, calling on the ministry to look into the issue.
“So we’re asking the authorities where the profit goes, does it go to the school account?” he inquired.
“Imagine a school charging Sh1,100 for a trouser that costs Sh950 in the market, and the Sh100 profit is collected from several items.”
According to him, this amounts to at least Sh1,200 per student for all items.
He used the example of a school with 2,300 students, with each student earning Sh1,200 from various items.
“They always insist on us paying 100 per cent school fees yet they get money through dubious items that are school uniforms, items,” Maiyo said.
Indimuli Kahi, chairperson of the Kenya Secondary Schools Association, backed the move, saying it will make it easier for parents to travel by public transportation.
Kahi, on the other hand, was skeptical and urged school principals not to overcharge for the items.
The principal of Machakos Boys School reminded school heads of the agreement reached during their meeting in Mombasa.
He urged his colleagues to be lenient on the demands made, as nearly 1.2 million students are expected to return to school next week.
The uproar among parents is caused by schools requiring parents to purchase all school-required items at the institution.
This means that parents will pay cash to the school for bedding, uniforms, and necessities such as soap, buckets, basins, and even towels.
Parents and students will only come to school if they have enough money to buy items.
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Principals who spoke on the condition of anonymity said they are struggling to manage institutions with limited resources in the face of rising living costs and inflation.
Meanwhile, school fees for public extra-county and national schools range between Sh35,000 and Sh45,000 per year.