Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) has appealed to the private learning institutions to provide flexible payment options to parents as the country embarks on phased reopening of schools from next Monday.
The KPSA Chief Executive Peter Ndoro acknowledged in a statement that learning institutions had been hit by cash crunch due to Covid-19. But he also appreciated the impacts of the financial problems on the parents hence argued that schools ought to examine cases and provide parents with friendly payment options.
“The general Kenyan economy has been depressed and majority of the economic sectors have been struggling which has consequently affected the parents taking their children to school,” he said in a statement.
Mr Ndoro also urged schools not to discriminate against children who failed to enroll for the online classes during the Covid-19 period. This, he said, would disadvantage the learners and potentially infringe on their rights to education as enshrined in the constitution.
“As guided by the association in May, 2020 online learning initiated by schools was to be treated as a separate programme/contract from the normal school term programmes/contracts and was to be an optional programme for the learners and their parents,” he said.
The KPSA boss also appealed to the government to hasten the release of Sh7 billion stimulus package to the schools adding that they are struggling to stay afloat.
Sh7b Stimulus package loan
This is not the first time that the private schools have asked the government to bail them out. In June 2020, Kenya National Union of Private Schools Teachers (KNUPST) Secretary General Dan Khasiani lamented that teachers in private schools risked going without pay for six months. He then asked the government to chip in and provide money for sustaining the teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By the time schools open, these teachers shall have gone for six months without a salary! This shall therefore mean that these teachers shall lack basic needs for all that duration,” said Khasiani.
But their appeals attracted outrage from the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion who said the government had no moral obligation to assist private enterprises. Sossion argued that the money could be used in employing more teachers and bridging the gaps in the public schools.
“The proposal by private schools owners that the State should provide grants to enable them pay staff salaries is totally out of tune,” he said.
“It will be wrong to use tax payers’ money to finance private businesses. Investors should seek alternative funding from financial institutions or elsewhere to keep their enterprises afloat,” he further added.
Two months later, on August 10, 2020, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha then told the press that the private schools would get a bailout of Sh7 billion concessionary loans to get back to operations.
Schools will begin reopening on October 12, with Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 learners resuming studies in preparation for examinations.