Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has warned headteachers against imposing unwarranted demands on Form One students ahead of their admission on Tuesday, May 3.
Speaking when he announced the placement of form ones, Magoha sent out a stern warning to school heads, accusing them of denying deserving students admission because of random items that are not approved by the ministry.
The list of items includes exercise books, novels, class readers or set books, mathematical sets, atlases, photocopy papers and fulscarps.
In addition, the Education boss imposed a ban on schools asking learners to report with items that are not academic related among them hockey sticks, machetes (pangas) and hoes (jembes).
The tough-talking CS explained that the move was in line with the government’s mandate to make basic education affordable. He vowed to protect parents from being overburdened by unnecessary expenses.
“We are committed to ensuring that parents of learners who are joining Form One are not overburdened with unnecessary requirements that increase the cost of education. The idea here is to admit Kenyan child into a public school where secondary school is free,” he stated.
Magoha stated that President Uhuru’s government had set aside money to fund education in public schools and that it would meet the expenses for the classroom tools. He further warned that any headteacher who will be caught turning away students because of the items would face the law.
“Principals should therefore exercise precaution when listing requirements as part of the measures to the cost of education. Do not stop the child from going to the school, if you do, I am still the head of this ministry, I will come for you,” Magoha warned.
Magoha noted that 9,000 students will receive financial assistance under the Elimu scholarship programme. 4,000 of the scholarships will be dedicated to informal settlements in urban centres.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta, having that there was a huge problem in urban slums, 4,000 of the scholarships will be for the less fortunate students in these areas. The other 5,000 will be distributed across the country,” the CS added.
He further emphasized that students in boarding schools will be given priority in the awarding of bursaries.
“Bursaries and scholarships should be given to students admitted to boarding schools since day schooling is free. However, for boarding school well-wishers and philanthropists are encouraged to consider covering costs of other non-tuition related expenses such as school uniforms and personal effects for children who are needy,” he explained.
38,797 candidates were placed in national schools, 214,960 in extra county, 258,456 in county schools, 726,311 in Sub-county schools and 2,045 in special needs schools.