Mary Wangechi is chatting with her two friends, a hand on her cheek wondering what will become of her grade seven daughter’s education.
She is narrating to her friends how disheartened she feels after her child was denied entry into grade seven because she didn’t have admission fee.
Mary says she was shocked by the refusal of her daughter’s previous school to admit her to grade seven because she didn’t not have Ksh.10, 000 admission fee.
She added that apart from the admission fee, she is expected to report with other requirements which will cost around Ksh5, 000 and a new uniform.
‘I don’t know if my daughter will join junior secondary school because the school is asking for a lot of money to admit my daughter. I am expected to come up with Ksh 20,000 within a week, it’s impossible,’ she said
One question bugging her mind, she says, is lack of communication about all the requirements and admission fee up until she was admitting her daughter.
‘I came to learn about the admission fee and all those requirements when I went to admit my daughter. Why is the government saying JSS is free? I beg to differ, we are paying for the education,’ she said
The story of Mary is the story of many parents across the country who are unable to admit their children to Junior Secondary School due to many hurdles they are facing in the process.
Parents are complaining of general lack of proper admission guidelines resulting to financial exploitation and manipulation by school administrations.
Florence Simuyu says her son has not joined his grade seven peers as she can’t raise the Ksh3, 800 admission fee required by the school plus an additional books requirements.
She says she started scouting for a school earlier last week but she was turned away by school administrations for what they termed as lack of capacity to admit new students.
However, on Tuesday she received a phone call from one of the schools she had visited and she breathed a sigh of relief knowing lady luck was on her side.
Unfortunately, upon hurriedly arriving at the school, she was asked to pay Ksh 3,800 admission fee, buy a new uniform and provide 14, 200 pages A4 books.
In addition to this, she was told the school would later inform her the amount of money she will be required to pay as school fees.
One enquiring why she needs to pay school fees, she was informed that JSS is a secondary school and not a primary school.
‘I could not believe my ears when I heard what is required to admit my son. I am a house help earning Ksh 6,500 per month. How am I supposed to raise all that money and I have another child and other bills?’ she posed
She says school heads are taking advantage of the situation by milking parents’ dry .For instance she says, her son’s former school head teacher asked her to pay Ksh500 for clearance to allow new admission.
‘The head teacher asked me to send Ksh500 for clearance but I wondered why a child should be charged to clear if they have not lost any book or broken anything, ‘she said
She says the government is double speaking with those in power saying that JSS is free but on the ground parents are coughing a lot of money to have their children admitted.
Amos Otieno was dismayed when he went to admit his daughter but was rudely turned away by the school’s watchman.
Otieno says the watchman was instructed by the school administration to turn away any parent without the admission fee and other requirements.
‘The watchman inquired if I had the admission fee and all the requirement and I told him no. I said I have half the amount required and I would complete the rest as my child learn,’ he said
‘He unceremoniously turned me away saying I should come back when I have the full amount,’ he added.