Nyeri Town MP wants state to bail out schools, decries rising court cases
Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Duncan Mathenge has called on the Ministry of Education to initiate dialogue to settle pending bills worth millions of shillings owed to suppliers by secondary schools.
Speaking after a meeting with principals from secondary schools in his constituency at Rware Secondary School, Maina said that there is a pressing need for the government to bail out schools from debts, some of which have seen principals dragged to courts.
"It's high time the Ministry of Education initiated this debate and ensured schools' debts are included in the budget. It's shameful that our principals are being taken to courts over debts yet we are settling debts owed to coffee, tea, and sugarcane farmers," Maina said.
The legislator stated that at the moment, the majority of suppliers have moved to courts claiming millions of shillings, yet principals and school boards cannot take any action since parents owe schools a lot of money in unpaid school fees.
His sentiments were echoed by Nyeri County Secondary School Heads Association Chairman Cyrus Wachira, who said that due to huge debts, the majority of his members are doing without some services, thus adversely impacting the provision of education.
"As principals, it's true we have huge debts, sometimes we have to forego some equipment, especially in laboratories due to financial constraints, so we welcome payments of pending bills to ease our burden," Wachira stated.
A survey revealed that some suppliers have moved to court, especially small claims courts, to force schools to pay them, a move never witnessed before in the education sector.
Most of those who have moved to courts are those who have supplied foodstuffs and stationery and have not been paid over the years.
On cooperation between the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the ministry for the provision of quality education in junior secondary schools, Maina said that he has set aside Ksh7 million for the construction of laboratories and expects the same to be reciprocated by the ministry.
He announced that day school students in the constituency will be paying Ksh12,000, with the rest being settled by CDF, and parents will be provided with Ksh4,500 in the form of bursaries.