State mulls scrapping exam fee for private candidates

Candidates from private schools are set to benefit from the examination fee waiver programme from the government beginning next year, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.

Dr Matiang’i said his ministry is in talks with the National Treasury and other key players in the sector to have candidates from these institutions enjoy the waiver as their counterparts in public schools.

“We are negotiating with the Treasury and other key players to have all students including those in private schools enjoy examinations fee waiver to ensure fairness and equity in the education sector,” Dr Matiang’i said during a thanksgiving day at Pioneer School in Murang’a County.

“These candidates from private schools are also Kenyans and must also enjoy the benefits currently being enjoyed by their counterparts in public schools,” he added.

Last year, the government resolved to waive examination fees for candidates in public institutions that receive free primary and secondary school funds.

This year alone, the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has received Sh3 billion to pay the registration fee for Standard Eight and Form Four candidates.

“The waiver is meant to ensure that no pupil or student misses the national examinations because they did not have money,” said the CS.

He observed that the move is motivated by the increasing number of students enrolling in schools and that the government will continue to fund all educational programs in both private and public institutions.

“There are signs that the number of candidates will continue rising. The commitment of the government to fund and support education is bearing fruits,” said the CS.

However, he was quick to note that the ministry had already paid the examination fees for all candidates in public schools expected to sit for their national examinations later this year.

“The government instructed us to pay examination fees for all the form four candidates and the class eight candidates. We have already done that and I want all the parents to know that we have already paid the fees for the students this year,” he stated.

He warned parents against paying for the examination fees and instead report any school principal asking for the money.

“So no parents should be asked to pay any examination fees and if anyone is asked to do so, please let our county directors of education know and they will take the matter up,” he said.

Kenya Private Schools Association chairman Peter Ndoro said the private sector welcomes the positive gesture by the Education Cabinet Secretary, saying it will bring equality among Kenyan children.

“As the private sector we have always held the belief that money released by the government belongs to the Kenyans child who are found both in public and private schools and not a section of them, we therefore welcome this new move by the Cabinet Secretary to finally consider children from the private sector,” Ndoro told XNews.

Remember all children are Kenyans and deserve equal treatment from the government. Education should unite the Kenyan child and not divide them as the government is currently trying to do,” he added.

Ndoro said the Kenya National Examination Act was amended allowing candidates from the private schools to also benefit from the waiver on the examination fee.

“The New Kenya National Examination Act provides that all citizens both from private and public schools are entitled to the pay and therefore we really appreciate the move by the CS,” Ndoro said.

“The Kenya Private schools association has always been at loggerhead with the government over their decision to only pay examination fee for candidates from public schools terming it discriminatory.

Information from Knec indicate that a total of 1.5 million candidates both KCPE and KCSE will sit for this years’ national examination scheduled for November.



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