Private schools hit middle class with sharp fees increase


Education CS Ezekiel Machogu addresses journalists in this photo taken on November 17, 2022. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG

Private academies have increased school fees by up to 47 per cent ahead of the new academic calendar starting this month as they move to protect their earnings from a surge in the cost of living.

The institutions attribute the changes to rising inflation that eased to 9.1 per cent in December after hitting a 67-month high of 9.6 per cent in October as households grapple with the high cost of goods and services, meaning that higher fees will further choke family finances.

A spot check by the Business Daily showed that some schools had sent notices out to parents and guardians on the upward adjustment of tuition fees and other charges including transport.

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“The Sh20,000 increase in fees is beyond my means and I am contemplating finding a more affordable school for my child,” said a parent at Rophine Junior School in Utawala, Nairobi.

A letter from the school dated November 29, 2022, shows parents had been notified of an impending tuition fee increase of 7.5 per cent and transport charges by between 10 to 15 per cent based on the route starting this month.

The parent notes no explanation has been offered for the higher fees of Sh63,500, which translates to about 47 per cent, for the child transitioning to Grade 7, the level that marks the start of Junior Secondary under the competency-based curriculum (CBC).

According to the government calendar, schools are reopening on January 23.

In most schools, parents with learners transitioning to Junior Secondary will be required to buy new uniforms besides textbooks and other learning materials.

At St Bakhita School, tuition fees have increased by six per cent for pre-primary education (PP1 and PP2) to Grade 6 –the level that marks the end of primary school under the CBC.

School chairman Fredrick Murunga informed parents the increase in fees would help the school to continue providing quality services to all learners.

"Transport charges will increase by 20 per cent to cater for escalating fuel and service costs, whereas co-curricular charges will increase by 15 per cent to cater for the growth and evolving needs of the programs," he said in the November 21, 2022 notice to parents.

Tuition fees at the school in 2023 will range between Sh59,011 and Sh66,495 per term depending on the learners’ grade while transport charges will range between Sh10,109 and Sh20,642 two-way, depending on transport zones.

"A few of my colleagues in the parent’s WhatsApp forum are making enquiries with a view of moving their children to more affordable schools around," said a parent at St Bakhita School.

Parents with pupils at St Hannah’s Preparatory on Nairobi’s Ngong Road are required to pay Sh89,300 termly from the Sh76,800 they paid the previous year, representing a 16 per cent rise.

Transport charges at the schools shot up 33 per cent to Sh16,000 from the Sh12,000 charged before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new charges are set to affect parents with learners in both private and public secondary schools.

At Moi Educational Centre High School in Nairobi, parents have been notified that the fee adjustment is linked to rising inflation rates.

"It has become necessary to review the school fees upwards considering that the rate of inflation is averaging at 9.5 per cent as of November 2022 (KNBS) and generally prices have gone up. There will also be a 10 per cent transport fee increment," said school Principal Eunice Muthusi in a December 20 2022 newsletter.

Term One fees at the Moi Educational Centre High School range between Sh100,000 and Sh120,000, depending on the class of the learner.

Following the resumption of the normal school calendar, fees for public secondary schools will also revert to normal after the subsidy of Sh8,500 occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic stopped.

According to a circular dated November 15, 2022, issued by the former Early Learning and Basic Education principal secretary Julius Jwan, national and extra county schools in seven counties will pay Sh 53,554 per year instead of Sh45,000.

The seven counties are Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Nyeri, Thika, and Eldoret (Uasin Gishu).

A newsletter for Tenwek High School, a national school in Bomet County, says of the Sh53,554, Term One fees will be Sh26,000 from Sh21,500 last year.

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Additional charges in the notice dated November 2, 2022, include Sh5,300 for uniforms for Form One and Form Three learners.

At Moi Girls, Eldoret, a national school, however, parents are required to pay Sh69,554, which is Sh16,000 above the State cap of Sh53,554 annual fee.

At Kabianga High School, another national school, Form Two to Form Four students will pay Sh59,554.

"Please note that school fees have been revised vide Ministry of Education (MOE) circular of November 2022 for the year 2023," said acting Principal Ayieko Dennis.

Parents at Nyangwa Boys High School in Embu, an extra county school, will pay Sh40,535 from the Sh35,000 they paid the previous year.

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