Kenyan secondary schools are generating billions of shillings as extra charges levied on parents eager to see their children join form one.
With a student population of about of 2.34 million, secondary school heads are charging thousands of shillings for unnecessary items or for others already catered for by the government.
Kenya National Parents Association says if heads charge 1.5 million students an average of Sh15,000 yearly as extra charges, heads could be making about Sh22.5 billion shillings.
If the same fee is levied on 2.34 million learners, the total being taken home by principals every year is Sh35 billion.
The association’s Chairman Musau Ndunda on Wednesday urged the government to audit the extra charges.
He said parents would not relent until justice was done.
“With all these money being collected per year for the last 15 years, no audit has been done. We cannot allow this to go on,” Mr Ndunda said.
In this financial year, Sh32.9 billion has been set aside to cater for secondary school students.
In the gazetted school fee structure, the government is to provide Sh12,870 per year per student in regular schools and Sh32,600 for every learner in special needs schools.
The maximum amount that a parents is required to pay is Sh9,374 for day schools, Sh53,553 for boarding schools and Sh37,210 for special needs schools.
The fee is supposed to be paid in the ratio of 50:30:20 for the three terms.
However, schools have ignored the directive and some are charging as much as Sh100,000 per year.
On Tuesday, heads agreed to adhere to ministry of education guidelines and allow a review of the current structure for 2017.
Even though Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association Chairman John Awiti said only seven per cent of principals had ignored the directive, but Mr Ndunda insisted that over 99 per cent of schools had done so.
For instance, St Joseph Kitale with more than 1,500 students is charging Sh10,000 for PTA and Sh10,000 for education improvement in addition to Sh60,256.
This amounts to Sh1.5 million for academic improvement and Sh1.5 million for PTA yet all these funds have been provided for by the government.
With this number of students, the school will collect about Sh90 million per year on top of Sh19 million that the government provides.
Huruma Girls, Nairobi, is asking parents to pay Sh68,570 on top of Sh12,870 that the government provides. This means that it would collect Sh34million from parents while the government will provide Sh6.4 million. It is charging for some of the services already catered for by the government such as administration, cost, activity fee, medical and insurance. Kakamega High school, with a student population of 1,175 is charging Sh91,000 in total. This translates to 10 million a year. The school has also budgeted for Sh600,000 for external speakers, Sh2 million for extra-curricular programmes and Saturday lunches for teachers and capacity building workshops for staff at Sh527,500.