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Education becoming a preserve of the rich



Education becoming a preserve of the rich

Education is one of the key pillars of a country’s development, as it directly provides a skilful workforce and pool of talent. 

Governments have always promised to deliver sustainable, equitable and affordable ( if not free) public education for all.

However, over the past few years, and as a parent with children in schools and colleges, this has not been the experience. 

Judging by the 2022 national exam results, and the clamour for a 100 per cent transition, the objective of affordable education for all has proved to be a mirage.

We seem to be obsessed with the overproduction of Grade As in secondary schools. 

Admission of learners to secondary schools has been riddled with under-the-table dealings. Some parents are willing to pay between Sh100,000 and Sh300,000 to secure slots in top schools, over and above the prescribed fees.

These funds go directly into the pockets of the school administrators.

Successive governments have failed to put in place measures to ensure that there is the equivalent of Alliance, Starehe, Lenana, Kenya High, Pangani, and other top schools in all the regions of the country.

Reduce congestion

This would definitely stop the scramble and clamour for slots in these schools and reduce the congestion that has been witnessed over the past couple of years. 

No sooner do the students join and settle in a school than parents are invited for an “orientation meeting”, and later asked to choose Class Reps.

Next, they are asked to join WhatsApp groups created by the school administrators, where they are at first congratulated on choosing and settling in the school. 

Afterwards, the bombshell is dropped in the name of motivation, development and suchlike fees. 

These funds are to be forwarded to either the Class Rep via M-Pesa or a dedicated school account, with the list of those who have paid regularly updated. 

The figures range between Sh2,000 and Sh20,000 per term. Imagine paying this kind of money every term for four years in a school where one may perhaps not see any meaningful motivation for the teachers or parents. 

Put bluntly, is education only for the rich in Kenya? 

How would a peasant farmer or poorly paid parent afford this?

It is a sad state of affairs, more so when you see schools putting up magnificent gates even when they have no websites, or have very old websites with outdated content. 

Another burning question is: why do the dormitories remain a secluded area on Form One admission day? 

Parents should be allowed to see where their children will be sleeping, and not hounded like terrorists in these highly guarded areas.

Concerned parent, Nairobi

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