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'Teacher motivation' fees keep students home.

Secondary school students could be spending a lot of time at home over their inability to clear money meant for school projects and teacher motivation.

Last term, Maxwell* spent about a month at home as his parents could not raise Sh1,000 meant to finance a school perimeter wall.

'The school sent home every student who could not raise the fee. I was sent home three times as we could not afford that. Students were required to stay home until they managed the amount,' Maxwell told the Star.

While at home, he spent his time reading because he knew it would take long to get the cash.

'I was losing a lot of class time and I tried making up for it at home,' he added.

Many students from the school in Machakos county are sent home for not paying money for the construction of dorms, buying tanks and construction of latrines.

The Star established that some students stay home for as long as half a term, affecting academic performance. Others may even miss the end-term exams.

Maxwell said it was unreasonable for students to stay at home for such a long time yet 'some students struggle to even raise the Sh5,000 school fees.'

The institution has repeatedly asked for funds some of which have never materialised.

'Much as a dorm was built after we all gave money, I have been waiting for the promised perimeter wall to be built but it is not up yet,' the student said.

Parents are, therefore, forced to dig deeper into their pockets out of fear of their children missing school.

In addition, the school issues receipts sparingly. 'Some students, especially those that asked for the receipts are the only ones that got receipts, a suspicious move,' Maxwell said.

Maxwell's mother said, 'The economic times are hard and parents are still giving a lot of money to motivate teachers and fund projects."

The parent further informed the Star that she thought the fee directive would ease her burden on what she spends in the course of her son's education. 'I am very disappointed,' she said.

This resonates with the stern warning issued by the Education CS George Magoha recently that no school should hike fees, adding that he knew schools are facing challenges.

In Homa Bay, a similar occurrence has discouraged a parent, Alice*, who always pays at least Sh2,000 to motivate teachers in her daughter's school.

'The school asks parents to motivate teachers with at least Sh2,000 a term. In addition, other irrelevant expenses come up once in a while and financially drained parents are forced to pay,' she said.

Alice said all the extra expenses are a means by schools to raise the money slashed from school fees in the CS's directive.

'I see students being sent home for not raising the Sh2,000 shortly after parents have paid all their money for school fees,' she added.

Earlier in the year, former education CS Amina Mohamed had said the addition of extra levies is a form of corruption.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:May 7, 2019
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