Kwale Education Director Defends Schools

Secondary schools in Kwale County have received a clean bill of health from the education office in regard to the issue of charging exorbitant fees.

The County Director of Education, Mr. Juma Mwatenga, assured parents that the management of local schools was following fee guidelines.

But even as Mr. Mwatenga gave the assurance today, KNA learnt independently that some unnamed day schools were charging as much as Shs.30,000 instead of the recommended Shs. 9,374.

Our source who refused to be identified said that the education office had already advised the principals of the affected schools to drop the extra-charges and adhere to the fee guidelines.

A parent in one of the local national school said they were being charged over Shs.3,000 annually as academic improvement fee.

However, Mr. Mwatenga insisted that all the institutions had complied with the guidelines issued by the government and that he had not submitted any list of schools to Ministry headquarters as none had defaulted.

“I want to make it clear that I have so far not received any report on cases of schools that are charging fees higher than the recommended ones in the entire County,” he said.

Speaking in his office, Mr. Mwatenga, said that investigation by his office showed all the schools were adhering to the guidelines and where extra levies were being charged they were justified by the management.

“I have checked several fees structures from different day and boarding schools and confirmed that the guidelines have not been flouted,” he added.

“Unless the guidelines I have seen are different from those given out to the parents then I am satisfied that all is well. We will however continue to closely monitor the situation and if we detect any mischief on the part of principals then the law will take its course,” he said.

Mr. Mwatenga said that the increments made by some of the head teachers were necessary as they catered for the high number of teachers hired by the School Management Boards to fill the gap created by an acute shortage of regular teachers.

“The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) does not provide the required number of teachers and that’s why teachers and parents resort to employing more teachers to meet the shortfall,” he said.

The Director clarified that parents are always consulted whenever decisions to charge extra levies are made and thus the issue of overcharging does not arise. Such levies cater for games, lunch programs to save on time in day schools, or for purchasing school buses.

By Hamisi Mwakumbo and James Muchai