Kenya: Financial crisis leads to rise in cost of school fees

 Kenya is planning to increase tuition costs in January. The association of high school principals has presented a proposal with the new costs to the Education Minister, asking that if the government cannot cover the costs, that they be covered by parents.

If this occurs, it would imply a large setback in the campaign for tuition-free education, considered one of the founding principles of President Kibaki's government. Families are already struggling to cope with a 28% increase in food costs.

According to a recent report from Kenya's National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the cost of education has been constantly on the rise, in spite of government funding. The schools say that the increase is due to the increase in the cost of food items, in addition to that of equipment, local rent costs, transportation, electricity, water, and the salaries of non-teacher personnel.

As a result of these increases, the school principals' association said that the schools have been obliged to pay 900 shillings extra for a sack of 90 kilos of grain and 650 shillings for a sack of beans.

A school uses, on average, one sack of grain and a quarter of a sack of beans per student per year. "With the current food prices, we should prepare ourselves for hard times to come," one of the school principals said.

The increase in food prices has been strongly criticized by Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa, who has accused some speculators of having created an artificial crisis that is taking its toll on the most vulnerable of the population See: 27 November 2008 Kenya: Archbishop urges government to protect food supplies

Source: Fides

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