By: OUMA WANZALA
The government has directed county education officials to ensure that schools do not conduct holiday tuition and urged parents to report those breaking the law to authorities.
The Nation has established that a number of schools have already received money for holiday tuition despite the circular by Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi to all county directors of education to the contrary.
A number of parents confirmed that schools have compelled them to pay holiday tuition fees despite the ban.
Prof Kaimenyi has directed county directors of education to take appropriate action, including notifying the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko, against schools that do not heed the directive.
He maintained that holiday tuition is outlawed under Section 37 of the Basic Education Act, 2012.
Any person who contravenes the provision commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both.
Prof Kaimenyi said both public and private schools are subject to the Act, adding that the ministry had taken into account the curriculum load of the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in providing for the holidays.
“April, August and December holidays accord an opportunity to learners to relax and learn important social skills through interactions among themselves and with adults while on holidays,” said Prof Kaimenyi.
He added: “Tuition outside school hours and during holiday ceased to be remedial and has been turned into a commercial enterprise through which teachers earn illegal income.
As a result, extra tuition is used to cover the content which should be covered in the normal academic year,” said Prof Kaimenyi.
The minister said that the extra money that schools ask parents to pay to underwrite provision of tuition during holidays is an additional burden to households’ budgets across the country besides being unethical.
“In light of the above, you are required to ensure that no schools, without exception, under your jurisdiction, conduct holiday tuition,” said Prof Kaimenyi in the circular.
But the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) acting national treasurer John Matiang’i asked the government to employ more teachers so that schools can complete their syllabuses on time.
“With more teachers in schools, learners will not be forced to attend holiday tuition and, therefore, ease pressure on them,” said Mr Matiang’i.
At the same time, Prof Kaimenyi directed schools to comply with the Gazette notice issued on March 10, 2015, prescribing the maximum allowable fees to charge parents whose children are attending their respective schools.
Prof Kaimenyi said he was aware that a number of schools were charging high fees despite the ministry’s guidelines.
“In light of the above, you are required to ensure that no public secondary schools under your jurisdiction violate the recommended fees structure as contained in the Gazette notice,” said the CS in a circular to county directors of education.
According to the guidelines, the maximum fees for day schools was set at Sh12,244, while that of boarding schools was at Sh66,424 and Sh69,810 for special needs secondary schools.