Parents are in talks with the Ministry of Education to extend the period of Christmas Holiday to help them raise school fees, saying the financial burden is too big.

This comes as schools officially close this week for a week’s break ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

The chairman of the Kenya National Parents Association, Mr Nicholas Maiyo, said the association had received numerous concerns from parents across the country asking to be given more time to get fees for their children.

“Parents feel pressured to raise fees within a period of one week and considering that it is during Christmas holiday, the financial burden is heavier on them,” said Mr Maiyo.

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In the past, parents were used to a long break of nearly two months given to learners for the end of year holiday, and that gave them enough time to get fees.

This is the first time learners are closing for one week in December, because of the crash programme being implemented in schools to recover the “lost” 2020 academic calendar.

Mr Maiyo said the parents association is engaging the Ministry of Education and secondary school heads, especially those in boarding schools to give parents sufficient time to raise the third term fees.

“In July we engaged the ministry to reduce this years’ school fees and it was reversed, we will continue to engage the ministry so that parents have enough time to raise the fees,” he said.

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Parents who spoke to the to us said this year has been the toughest for them financially since they had to pay school fees four times.

The ministry’s school calendar indicated that both primary and secondary schools are scheduled to close on December 23. However, most schools, especially boarding secondary ones, closed last week.

“The ministry notes that the dormitory is essential in addressing the challenge of overcrowding in the existing facilities due to increased enrolment,” said Dr Jwan in the letter.

Dr Jwan, however, said no student should be denied access to learning for failure to pay the extra charges.

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Mr Maiyo said although parents acknowledge that most schools will need more funding for construction of dormitories after they were razed by students in the second term, that was no reason to overcharge parents through extra levies without seeking approval from the ministry.

Mr Maiyo has also called on parents to take time over the holiday to talk to their children and instill discipline in them.

“There is need for parents to engage their children and know the reason behind them burning schools, if parents fail to discipline their children, the financial burden will affect them as the burned dormitories will have to be re-paired,” said Mr Maiyo.

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