Parents and students of State House Girls Secondary School in Nairobi on Tuesday staged a dramatic protest on State House Road, barricading the busy lane in response to a directive by the school’s management mandating full payment of school fees.
This notice, which many claim they were not adequately informed of, has caused considerable distress among the parents and students, most of whom come from low-income backgrounds.
According to the parents, the school administration declared them “Persona non grata” until they settle outstanding balances and fulfil other requirements, including the purchase of writing materials and brooms.
This directive left many parents scrambling to come up with the necessary funds and led to a number of students being turned away from school despite having paid partial fees.
“They say they want all the money before the child can attend school. So I’m like, where am I supposed to get all that money when I’m just a hustler? This is not just a problem for me, but for many parents in the community who are struggling to make ends meet,” one parent shared their frustration with the school’s lack of sensitivity to their financial struggles.
“The school wants Ksh26,000, I have paid half. They want me to pay another half. Where will I get it from? It’s not fair to put all this pressure on parents during these difficult times,” another parent expressed her dismay.
Other parents have decried what they perceive as exorbitant prices for required materials.
“When I came, they told me I could not be allowed entry unless I have a rim paper. They told me to pay Ksh800, but when I checked at the supermarket, the price for the same commodity is between Ksh500 to Ksh600. It’s just not fair to ask parents to pay such inflated prices when they’re already struggling to make ends meet,” a parent lamented.
The protests caused significant disruption to traffic flow, and police were called in to restore order.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by many parents in Kenya, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, in ensuring that their children receive an education.
It shows the need for schools to be more sensitive to the financial difficulties faced by parents, and to work together with the community to find solutions that are fair and equitable for all.
There is a need for proper communication and transparency from the school administration so that parents are aware of any changes in policies and can plan accordingly.
The actions of the State House Girls’ administration in mandating full payment of school fees and turning away students who have paid partial fees are reprehensible and a blatant form of extortion.
It is utterly unfortunate that the school principal would blame parents for being uncooperative when it is clear that the school administration’s actions caused the standoff.
The government should take action to address the issue of rogue school heads who take advantage of innocent parents, especially during these tough financial times.
Such cases are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
The Ministry of Education has a responsibility to ensure that all children have access to education and that the rights of parents are protected.
Parents should not have to choose between feeding their families and educating their children.
The State House Girls principal should be held accountable for these immoral actions.
We must stand with the parents and students to bring an end to this exploitation.
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