Form One parents were on Saturday engaged in last minute preparations for their children to join secondary school tomorrow, with some moving around in search of alternative schools.
Some parents complained that their children had been placed in schools they did not select while others said their children were called to schools far from their homes.
The frustrations, some said, had forced them to secure opportunities in expensive private schools.
Those who spoke to the Saturday Nation said they have been having sleepless nights moving from one school to another since Monday when schools opened hoping to secure admissions.
Ms Jane Mutuno, whose daughter was admitted to Moi Girls Isinya, said she had hope her daughter would get an opportunity to join her dream school, Kenya High, but she has not yet managed to secure placement.
“I was asked to leave my request but until today I haven’t been able to secure her a place,” she said.
Ms Mary Gachoka, whose son was called to join Mukaa Boy’s School, said she had hoped to get him an admission at a school in Nairobi or its environs, but despite placing requests to several schools, the system shows her son is to report to Mukaa.
In some schools, parents reported that principals are asking as much as Sh10,000 as commitment fees to secure placements.
“I have vowed I will not pay a bribe to get a placement for my daughter. I will try as much as I can, if it won’t be possible, I will let her report to the school she has been admitted,” said Mr James Mutua.
Others parents said they were existed that their children are joining secondary school despite the hard economic times and the hiked prices of uniforms and other school items.
The Ministry of Education places students in Form One using the National Education Management information system (Nemis). The system allows parents and students to download the admission letters, which are then presented to the school on the reporting day.
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli yesterday said the ministry has strict guidelines when it comes to transferring from one school to another.
“For parents who are dissatisfied, they are required to go to their preferred school and put in a request for transfer through the principal. Once the request is approved by the ministry, they can download their transfer letter,” said Mr Indimuli. He added that the transfer of learners from one school to another is determined by availability of slots.
Considering the 100 per cent transition policy is in force, many schools were allocated full capacity numbers, with some getting more students than the available spaces.
Since 2017, schools have been experiencing congestion in dormitories and classes despite various interventions by the ministry to expand infrastructure. With the Covid 19 protocols, the situation may be worse this year, especially in sub-county schools which will admit most of the students.
Speaking during the Global Education Summit in the UK, President Uhuru Kenyatta admitted that school infrastructure in secondary schools is a nightmare due to the transition policy.
“Despite allocating a quarter of its total budget to support education and introducing the 100 per cent transition policy from primary to secondary schools, Kenyan schools are still struggling to get enough spaces for the learners,” said the President.
And as the Form One students report to their various schools, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said the ministry will be getting daily reports to enable the ministry locate students who have not joined.
“Right from the first day of reporting, ministry officials will be required to file accurate daily returns on the status of reporting to schools. In addition, parents or guardians and school managers must facilitate smooth admission of all children to secondary schools,” he said
The Education ministry is planning to engage chiefs and sub-chiefs to ensure all students report to school.
This academic year, the ministry awarded the second cohort of 9,000 needy students chosen to benefit from the Elimu Scholarship Programme. The programme targeted 110 sub-counties and 15 urban centres with informal settlements.
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