Flurry of activity as Form One pupils report to high schools countrywide

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 06:00 | By
Flurry of activity as Form One pupils report to high schools countrywide
Ruth Nyakweba (right) and Andriano Ibrahim carry metal boxes donated by Mombasa Woman Rep Zamzam Mohamed, yesterday. They also benefitted from full scholarships to their respective secondary schools. PD/BONFACE MSANGI

Confusion and long queues characterised the first day of Form One admission as thousands of parents rushed to enrol their children in secondary schools across the country.

Parents were forced to dig deep into their pockets to pay for various items demanded by the schools before their children could be admitted.

The schools also struggled to cope with the huge number of students seeking admission. The majority of national and extra county schools were forced to enrol over 1,000 learners — in as many as  12 streams — in line with the Government’s directive that no learner should be left behind.

At the coast, for instance, a shortage of infrastructure and teaching personnel continued to haunt many public schools.

At Mama Ngina Girls in Mombasa, parents queued for hours as their children went through a meticulous enrollment process. The school admitted 280 Form One student to its five streams.

Institutions like Mvita Boys, Allidina Visram and Alfarsy Secondary in Mvita were overstretched, even as the principals received more requests for slots.

“The process is tedious although it is flowing well, the fees are too high. Many parents are facing economic challenges,” lamented Obedi Jumwa, a parent whose daughter was admitted to Mama Ngina Girls School.

Expressed displeasure

At Allidina Visram Secondary School, principal Dishon Indimuli said that though they were expecting 400 learners, there was no cause for alarm.

“Textbooks and exercise books are all provided at school; we are only asking parents to come with uniforms,” said Indimuli.

Parents expressed their displeasure with the tedious registration processes, which required them to pay at least half of the fees before their children are admitted to the school.

“We are asked to pay Sh10,000 of the total fees, failure to which we are asked to go back with our children. It is also taking too long for the students to be admitted,” complained one parent.

The fee structure for the Mombasa-based day school indicated that parents pay an annual fee of Sh22,244 — inclusive of Sh6,304 for tuition, Sh400 for medical, Sh800 activity fee and other votes amounting to Sh16,000.

The school also charged Sh16,000 for its lunch programme and Sh4,000 per year for teachers employed by the board of management (BOM).

In Siaya, hundreds of students did not join Form One in various secondary schools due to lack of school fees.

In Bondo sub-county, three students who were among the best performers at Bondo Township Primary School failed to report to schools of their choice due to lack of fees.

As other children rushed to bookshops and uniform shops to buy the necessary items, George Matumbai, Albright Apata and Mitchell Akinyi Owenga were left stranded after failing to secure scholarships that would have enabled them to join Maranda, Kanga and Asumbi schools, respectively.

“I scored 406 marks from Bondo Township and was admitted to Maranda. But I come from a poor background and will not be able to join Form One there due to lack of fees. We appeal to well-wishers to come to our aid,” said Matumbai.

Albright’s grandmother, Alice Apata, and Mitchell’s mother Alice Owenga said they are still unable to raise fees for Kanga Boys High School and Asumbi Girls High School, respectively.

The headteacher of Bondo Township Primary School, Charles Ochieng’, confirmed that a number of students who are expected to join national and extra county schools were not able to do so due to high levels of poverty in the region.

 A spot check by ‘People Daily’ established that there was a relatively huge turnout in most schools within Kisumu in the admission exercise.

Dozens of parents were trooping to various schools to have their children admitted to Form One.

High admission rate

At Maseno School, over 80 per cent of Form One students reported on the first day of the admission exercise.

School deputy principal Peter Ochieng said out of the targeted 744 Form Ones, 565 were reported yesterday, with the rest expected in the course of the week.

In Narok, Ephraim Kamucho Nyambura 14, who scored 384 marks in last year’s  KCPE examination, was hoping for a “miracle” to join Kagumo High School in Nyeri where he secured a Form One slot.

When ‘The People’ caught up with him at Olopito village, about six kilometres from Narok town, Ephraim said his dream of becoming an engineer could be shattered.

Tightly holding his admission letter, he lamented that his mother had no money to pay the over Sh75,000 annual fees required for him to join Kagumo High School.

“My mum has no money to pay the Form One fee, which amounts to more than Sh75,000. I have now decided to help her in house chores, help her with the baby, and till our quarter acre garden as we wait for a miracle. I am asking God every morning to bring a sponsor on my way so that I can join Kagumo High School,” said Ephraim.

In Kajiado, it was a booming business for jua kali artisans, who said that most parents preferred metal boxes for their children. Peter Njihia, an artisan, said the sales were good, disclosing that he has sold 900 more pieces compared to last year.

A metal box ranges between Sh1,100 and Sh2,500 at the jua kali shed, compared to between Sh1,600 and Sh3,000 in shops.

Machogu’s plea

While supervising the admission exercise at St. George’s Girls Secondary School in Nairobi, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu directed principals not to turn away students who lacked the full fees, uniform or any other requirements.

The CS said that capitation for both secondary and primary schools, amounting to Sh16 billion and Sh4 billion, respectively, had been disbursed.

He said all 1.2 million learners who sat the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) would transit to secondary schools.

“We are talking about 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schools and we are urging all parents that no child should remain at home. We have enough vacancies. Every pupil will be able to get a place,” said the CS.

The CS also said that capitation for Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) will be released by the end of this week.

He explained that the Ministry had to wait for learners to be registered on the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS), which will guide the disbursement.

“Each JSS learner has been allocated Sh15,042 but we are waiting to know the exact number in every school so that we can disburse the money before the end of the week. That is the only information we are waiting for,” the CS added.

- Reporting by Harrison Kivisu, Patricia Obiero, Jane Kimiti, George Sayagie, Christine Musa, Eric Juma, Viola Kosome and Noven Owiti

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