Select junior schools you can afford, parents urged
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has urged parents to select for their children Junior Secondary Schools whose fees they can afford.
Magoha said yesterday that children in private schools must pay for the services offered in those institutions, insisting that the Government can only cater for Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE).
He dismissed calls for the government to give private schools capitation, saying it is entirely up to parents who take their children there to pay.
“There has been a little noise about capitation to private schools but that is not going to happen. The Constitution allows us to provide FDSE, so if you know you have no money to pay for feeding and boarding, choose any day school. Every child is protected there,” said the CS.
He made the remarks after commissioning the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) at Nile Road Secondary School in Nairobi.
“If you choose a boarding school, you must know that there will be requirements to pay for boarding and feeding. That is why the Government got the poorest students from the slums and gave them Elimu Scholarship, which is supposed to go for four years. We have said that any child who selects a private school must first of all confirm with their parents. That is why we have roped them in,” Magoha added.
Insisting that it is entirely up to a parent to make choices, the CS said that the Ministry has only issued guidelines for school selection but the decision stands with learners and parents. “Even in the current situation, some parents do not follow the guidelines — you find them selecting top schools like Kenya High School several times to the exclusion of all others,” he said.
Magoha reiterated that the majority of learners are expected to be in junior day schools near their homes.
“The CBC will be a great success of the outgoing government. You have seen the passion we have had and hope the incoming Government will continue with the classroom drive in the next one year; then there will be no problems,” Magoha stated.
Magoha said the Government extended the JSS selection period, which was to close today, owing to the challenges faced since the exercise started. The portal to select JSS was opened on August 15 but children had not gone back to schools due to the election exercise.
He added that the current 10-day extension is the last chance that parents will be given.“Remember August 15 was a strong day in our country and even those of us who have the skin of hippopotamus were glued to television sets. It would have been unfair to expect children, parents and teachers to start selection as normal. Today (Monday), in certain parts of the country there are people more concerned about other things,” he said, adding that there are private schools which are still in the process of being registered.
“We cannot register a private school, which is going into junior secondary, without first inspecting its laboratories and seeing they are up to standard,” Magoha said.
He insisted that children in private schools should consider remaining there for the next three years so that the mad rush to top schools in the country is reduced.
“Since this is a consultative process, not just selecting schools, the children should talk to their parents and teachers. These are millennial children who seem to be too intelligent ... persuade them to stay for another three years before going to schools of their choice,” he insisted.
That, however, does not mean that the top schools will not have a few children because a few classrooms have already been built there.
The CS envisaged cut-throat competition at Year 9 of the system.
“All the national exams are ready,” he assured.