The Effect of User Charges on Access to Basic Education in Kenya
March 2016
Amunga Jane, Ondigi Benjamin

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Abstract

In Kenya, the right to free basic education was enshrined by law in 2003 and expanded to include secondary schools under the new constitution. The Basic Education Act allows schools to impose other levies with the approval of the Cabinet Secretary in consultation with the County Education Board provided that no child is denied education because of failure to pay such charges. However, this has not been the case. In practice, there are a large number of different "fees" that households have to pay for publicly provided primary and secondary education, including tuition fees, compulsory uniforms, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues, and various special fees such as exam fees, and the like which have kept school age going children out of school. These fees are especially difficult for marginalized children such as females, orphans, and the financially underprivileged. For as long as many children of school going age still remain out of school, the achievement of vision 2030 remains a mirage since education and training of all Kenyans is an important ingredient under the social pillar in the realization of this vision. It is therefore recommended that, the government should meet the full costs of boarding in secondary schools in order to redress the imbalance between low and high social economic status families, provide adequate teaching and learning resources in public primary, and review the current capitation grant at both sub-sectors.

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