With increasing financial pressure on parents as learning resumes nationwide, Rurigi Secondary School in Uasin Gishu County has embraced barter trade to ease the burden of fees on parents.
At the institution, parents are allowed to pay fees in the form of firewood, animal feed, as well as building blocks.
Speaking in an interview with Citizen television on Tuesday May 10, Edward Wanjala – the school principal – noted that the school was benefiting from the program as it had reduced expenditure on the part of parents. He explained that most items such as building blocks were on demand given the construction work at the institution.
A collage image of Spencer Olaka welding at Rurigi Middle School (LEFT) and a pile of firewood at Uasin Gishu County School (RIGHT).
He said the school didn’t want any students to miss the program, citing the shortened school calendar.
“Firewood is something that we use daily, so we decided that the parents could put them together with corn and animal feed because the institution has cows that we raise,” confirmed the deputy director.
In addition to amenities, part of the parents also offers to work at the institution, and the salary is transferred to the fee pool.
Spencer Olaka, a porter from Burnt Forest, revealed the school hired him to fix broken furniture so his daughter could stay in school.
“It has really taken the burden off me. Instead of getting paid at the end of the job, the money will be used to cover my child’s education at the institution,” he said.
Other parents noted that the school has become popular among residents, with the number of students increasing each year.
“For example, I brought almost 4 truckloads of rocks to school and my child was never sued for school fees,” another parent said.
Among education stakeholders, concerns have been raised about President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 100% transition policy with the reality of high school fees hitting parents hard.
In recent weeks, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has warned headteachers against sending children home for school fees, calling on them instead to develop new ways of managing their School supplies.
“Don’t send a Kenyan child home. If the parent comes with 4,000 Ksh and the balance is 10,000 Ksh, take the 4,000 Ksh and agree when he will bring the 10,000 Ksh,” he said.
Education CS George Magoha addresses the 2nd International Multidisciplinary Research Conference on Linking Research, Science, Technology and Innovation with Development in Africa at Kabete National Polytechnic on May 5, 2022.
Ministry of Education