Mass Exodus: Parents Send Students to Rural Schools

  • A number of parents have transferred their children from schools in Nairobi County to the rural areas due to the rising costs of education in urban areas. 

    Parents have complained that the high cost of living has also made life in the city difficult for many families who are battling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Prior to schools reopening on January 4, thousand of students were transferred from private to public schools. Over 400 private schools shut down while others have raised tuition fees or other charges to cushion themselves from the pandemic. 

    However, most parents who were seeking admissions in public schools within the city lamented that the expenses were still high. Those whose students were already enrolled in public schools prior to the Covid-19 pandemic also concurred. 

    Education CS George Magoha assess the learning situation at Embu County Primary School on Friday, January 15, 2021

    “I can no longer afford over Ksh 20,000 rent for my business and at the same time pay Ksh 15,000 house rent and still take my children to school,” a parent told a local daily, saying that she relocated with her children to Machakos County.

    She disclosed that she was spending over Ksh 120,000 per year to educate her three children. 

    Parents have also said that schools in Nairobi had raised transport and lunch fees. Education CS George Magoha was adamant that school heads who were found guilty of extorting parents and sending students back home over fee arrears would face disciplinary action

    A considerable number of families had already relocated upcountry prior to schools reopening. A spot check by in November 2020 ascertained that several city residents migrated with their household commodities. Most of them had been rendered jobless after Covid-19 broke out in Kenya in March 2020. 

    Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) Chairman, Kahi Indimuli, confirmed that parents were sending students to rural schools. He, however, warned that rural schools were grappling with a shortage of infrastructure and most of them were already full. 

    “Most of the public schools do not have space to accommodate new students. Securing admission will not be easier,” Kahi said. 

    He also admitted that it a hard task for school heads to ensure that all students resume studies as directed by the government. 

    “We have seen studies come back to school, others are transferring and others have not reported yet. We don’t know why. Most parents were affected by the Covid-19 crisis and we are yet to see whether they will send students back to school,” he added. 

    The government warned parents that they risk arrest for failing to send students back to school. President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated that all students should be allowed to resume studies, whether one had fee arrears or not. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta
    President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation on Thursday, December 31, 2020

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