February 3, 2014


High fees are pricing poorer students out of public school access. These schools should be open to all applicants but aren’t.

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High fees pricing poorer students out of public school access

High fees pricing poorer students out of public school access

It’s now official that top public schools in Kenya will remain a preserve for students from well-to-do families as exorbitant fees keep locking out qualified but needy students whose parents/guardians cannot afford the fees.

The Ministry of Education guidelines set official boarding school fees at about Sh18,627 per year, while the Government tops up Sh10,265 for every student. Any extra amount charged requires authorization from the ministry. However, fees in most national schools are as high as Sh130,000 per year.


The government has in the recent past warned schools against hiking fees following complaints by parents but somehow schools keep finding ‘creative’ ways to add extra costs in the fee structure amid parents’ claims that some of the costs are really unnecessary.

The additional costs range from motivational fee, school bus maintenance fee, activity fee, levies for supplementary assessment examinations and what have you. In their defence school heads argue that they have been compelled to increase fees due to the high inflation and that most of the additional levies are normally approved by parents during the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Take for instance the fees a parent taking a child in the below national secondary schools will have to part with annually.


Limuru Girls -120,000
Alliance Girls – 132 000
Kenya High School – 130,000
Lenana boys – 110,000

Starehe Boys 148,000
Kapsabet boys 105,000

These are not small figures and it’s no wonder poor bright students who get slots in public schools end up in average schools in the village which are less costly if they are not lucky enough to get scholarships. Their positions are then filled by those from affluent homes who can afford the fee, during the ‘second selection’ process.

“The creation of national schools was not meant to be that expensive as to hurt poor parents whose students are in Government schools. Rather it was to provide opportunities for bright students to access first-rate education in these institutions”, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has maintained.


Reports Indicate that of the 844,475 students who sat for last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), only about 56 per cent will get secondary school placements. The huge cost of education has been cited as one of the reasons why most pupils will miss out on secondary school and the high cases of drop-out being witnessed in some counties have been attributed to lack of fees as well.


In an interview with The Standard, the Ministry of Education admitted that it lacked an audit of what schools charge. Officials say there is no information on what the schools have levied in the past few years. “We cannot avail that information at the moment because we do not have the data,” said Kennedy Buhere, a communications officer at the ministry. Reports indicated school heads were furnishing the ministry and Treasury with inaccurate statistics of learners in their institutions to attract funding.

Education is indeed the key to success, just as the motto’s of most schools in the country goes thus if we are to raise a generation of learned and empowered young individuals, quality and yet affordable education needs to be accessible to every child in Kenya.


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