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Crisis As Form 1 Students Flock To Schools Without Fees

Crisis As Form 1 Students Flock To Schools Without Fees.

Principals are dealing with a silent crisis as efforts to fill candidates in secondary schools under the 100% transition begin, with a number of students unable to pay tuition.

It was discovered that a large number of these students received high marks in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations and enrolled in secondary schools without paying fees or providing adequate admission items.

Principals are now caught between a rock and a hard place as the number of needy students grows and the government only pays fees for a select few.

Gerald Orina, principal of Kakamega High School says he has ten cases in his school where form ones brought nothing but the calling letters.

“If you sent them away, you will get a backlash. We order the uniforms, beddings and books from suppliers and when we get such cases, we normally give them for free,” said Gerald.

Mr. Orina stated that while MPs have made commitments to cover such students’ tuition fees in some cases, only a few of them follow through, with some taking advantage of the situation to gain cheap political mileage.

According to Kahi Indimuli, national chairman of the Kenya Secondary Heads Association (KESSHA), a number of secondary school heads are managing needy cases where fees are not paid.

He is the Principal of Machakos High School and he has nine such cases. His school has managed to get well-wishers to pay fees for as many as possible, but is worried on what will happen if they don’t get sponsors for the rest.

This is despite Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s assurance that the government will evaluate all cases for assistance.

“We encourage principals to admit these children. After that, they will write to us and we shall dispatch a team to assess each case and settle fees for the deserving ones,” Magoha said.

However, it has emerged that only a few cases have been investigated by the ministry, leaving school administrators in a state of silence.

According to Indimuli, the number reported this year is double that of last year.


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Since it is a government directive that all candidates who sat for the 2021 KCPE exams transition to Form One, the school facilities available in the schools have been overstressed.

Some principals have been forced to dig into their pockets in order to ensure all students reporting have been admitted.

According to interviews with principals across the country, students can study for up to a year without being sponsored.

According to Indimuli, the school cannot send them home to look for fees, and can only hope that well-wishers will step in to help.

However, he explains that they will be admitting another cohort next year, which will make it difficult to keep them in schools without fees.

Some principals say that some of the students admitted last year under the 100% transition had never received any sponsorship, forcing school heads to devise alternative means of keeping them in school.

Crisis As Form 1 Students Flock To Schools Without Fees
Kenya Secondary Heads Association (KESSHA) national chairman Kahi Indimuli

Magoha directed secondary school principals to ensure that all Form One students are admitted regardless of whether they pay tuition or not, stating that the government’s policy is to expedite the transition from primary to secondary school.

He announced 9,000 scholarships asking principals to simply admit them and ensure that they meet all of the basic requirements before forwarding student’s name to his ministry.

Such students will then be placed on a four-year scholarship program. He noted that many students out there have not reported to school.

The figure is higher than usual, which is concerning. He asked parents, whether they have school fees or not, to have their children admitted, and the government will take care of their needs.

Indimuli stated that the number of needy students reporting to various schools across the country without tuition fees is very high this year, and that they require financial assistance to continue admitting students.

However, Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan believes the issue has been exaggerated.

He says, in all of public schools, the government pays Sh22,224 per student. If parents cannot afford boarding fees, they should send their children to day schools.

After the vetting process was completed, Jwan says ministry began awarding the 9,000 Elimu scholarships to candidates who are extremely poor.

According to the PS, the majority of reported cases involve candidates attending boarding schools rather than public day schools.

He admits that the number of needy cases this time around is extremely high, and the scholarship may not be able to accommodate all of them.

The state will only accept students who are in desperate need of assistance after a thorough investigation, and the rest will attend public day schools.

He stated that the government is committed to expediting the implementation of the 100% transition, arguing that no student should be excluded from the ongoing form one admissions.

Indimuli agrees that, while the government has attempted to secure scholarships for some students, the demand has outstripped the available funds.

“We are still receiving students who report to school with nothing at all. They are not on the Equity or Elimu scholarships and they have no sponsors.

Mr Indimuli explains that even as the mop-up operation continues to push for a complete transition, the schools lack the resources to handle the numerous cases.

Boarding schools are the most affected because that is where the students are brought.

In first year, whether they are lucky enough to get sponsorship or not, Indimuli says they may be in school, but by form two, it becomes difficult to keep them in school because the sponsors usually forget about them.

He stated that there is a need to be clear on who needs to be supported because, in most cases, MPs will only give bursaries to top students whose parents are well-off, overlooking deserving needy cases.


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According to him, lawmakers sometimes choose to give a flat rate of at least Sh5,000 to all bursary applicants for political reasons, but such students are forgotten in subsequent disbursements and end up dropping out of school.

Indimuli now proposes that schools create a kitty where well-wishers can donate to help such students.

Crisis As Form 1 Students Flock To Schools Without Fees

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