Leaders and parents from West Pokot County have raised concern over school principals and heads of public schools in the semi-arid area sending students home over lack of school fees.
Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong and Masol MCA Ariong’o Lopurena who cautioned the school managers said it was illegal and unfair to deny students who can’t pay school fees because of the drought situation the chance to continue with their studies.
The leaders urged school heads not to send learners back home citing that the move disrupts learning and has lowered the education standards of the area.
Lochakapong said some parents cannot sustain timely fees payment and need more time to look for the money. “It is advisable that parents take an initiative to discuss with school administrators fees payments if they face any hardships other than disrupting the student’s learning all the time because of fees. All our children must be accorded the same opportunity to continue with their studies and it is illegal for any principal or headteacher to send them home because of lack of school fees during this drought season,” said Lochakapong.
Lochakapong who is the Chairman of members of parliament and members of County Assembly on education in the County said that parents in the area are faced with numerous challenges of high poverty levels, drought and hunger. “It is hard to sell livestock we depend on at the moment. It is difficult to pay all the fees. Some school don’t allow students in class even those having a fee balance of Kshs 500 only,” said Lochakapong.
Speaking at Katugh Secondary school during the Annual General Meeting, the legislature urged school heads to retain learners in schools by understanding parents. “They should be allowed to pay the money in bits and slowly throughout the year. School fees can be paid anytime from January to November because it must be paid,” he said.
The former Kapenguria boys high school Principal said that the County government and members of parliament through the Constituency Development Fund gave out bursaries.
Mr. Ariongo Lopurena said that sending away students exposes them to many dangers. “It’s is bad to see learners loitering in towns,” he said.