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Uniform, JSS Items Headache For Items As Students Report to Junior Schools

Uniform, JSS Items Headache For Items As Students Report to Junior Schools

Poor parents in urban areas are feeling the strain of the high cost of living, particularly when it comes to buying all the necessary items for their children’s schooling.

The process of shopping around to find the best items is proving to be a major inconvenience and source of frustration for many.

Beginning on Monday, January 30th, the Ministry of Education (MoE) released transition guidelines for students.

However, it was discovered that the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Ezekiel Machogu, was unclear on issues such as school uniforms and tuition.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, January 29, parents questioned the government on the payment of school fees, as they had not yet received word on the matter.

In his address, CS Machogu announced that public school children will not be required to pay school fees. Nevertheless, a majority of parents could not comprehend how children might be admitted to school for free.

According to Machogu, President William Ruto instructed the Treasury to set out Ksh15,000 per learner per capitation to facilitate free education in all Junior Secondary Schools.

In addition, he declared that the government would invest Ksh9.6 billion to maintain the initiative throughout the fiscal year of 2022/2023.

“No school should charge any fees for Grade 7 learners unless such schools are boarding wings,” Machogu indicated while speaking during the release of Form One placement on Monday, January 16.

On the other hand, parents were dissatisfied with the lack of clarification over the type of outfit they were required to purchase.

While the issue was directed at the government, Machogu made it clear that it was up to the Board of Management (BoMs) to decide on the style of uniform to be worn, but maintained that it would be distinct from that of the lower primary students.
However, he underlined that parents would be responsible for purchasing uniforms for their children.

“The uniform will not be the same and each board of management will be able to make decisions on the colour and type of uniform students will be put on,” the CS revealed. 

Concerning placement in junior secondary school, parents were upset because some of the best schools were not chosen.

They stated that the government’s selection of low-performing schools will negatively impact their children’s academic achievement.

Ms. Jackline Karobia, who has a daughter starting at Tumutumu Girls in Nyeri County, is making an effort to save money on each item on her daughter’s lengthy school supplies list.

She has decided to purchase some books from street vendors instead of established bookstores, as the savings per book is 100 shillings and with five compulsory books on the list, she can save 500 shillings that she can use for her daughter’s transportation.

Another parent, Mr. Shadrack Okello, is having to make difficult choices as he tries to save money on the items on his son’s school supplies list.

He questions the need to purchase a new pair of black leather shoes for 3,000 shillings and sports shoes for 2,500 shillings when he can get them from a second-hand trader for half the price.

He also sees no reason to buy three handkerchiefs when one would suffice.

Ms. Jennifer Ketienya, whose daughter is starting at Kipsigis Girls in Kericho County, is finding this year’s shopping to be the most difficult so far.

With a tight budget, she has had to sacrifice her regular trips to the hair salon until her daughter is admitted to Form One. She finds the prices of the items she needs to be even more shocking than she had anticipated.

A 65-year-old grandmother, Ms. Bernice Komu, expressed her frustration with the high prices of all the items on her grandson’s shopping list, claiming that prices have increased by over 50 percent. She accuses traders of exploiting parents in these difficult times.

Traders, however, are not apologizing for the price changes, as they are still trying to recover from the pandemic.

Mr. Dennis Okiring, a textbook vendor, suggests that parents support local traders as this helps grow the local economy. Mr. Patrick Ngamau, a second-hand shoe trader, acknowledges that both traders and parents are in the same economic boat during these tough times.

Uniform, JSS Items Headache For Items As Students Report to Junior Schools


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