by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Nakuru
To get a kid into Secondary school in Kenya is a miserable business. First of all a parent has to come to a desirable school with his child’s K.C.P.E. results (Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education) and ask if this school is willing to take his child. Sometimes a parent has to beg; sometimes he has to bribe a school’s principle or secretary. When this step has been passed, a parent has to pay a deposit of 3000 KES as a part of school fees to convince a school that he is financially reliable. After that, he gets an admission form with a list of requirements: a full payment of school fees for the first term (another 3700 KES), a medical exam (600 KES, sometimes 1000 KES), passport photos (200 KES), a copy of a birth certificate, a school uniform (around 5000 KES), a set of books including Bible (7000 – 10000 KES), etc.
If even one item is missing “these people” will give a parent hard time, make him feel miserable while schooling him as a teenager. If the missing item is a wrong colored vest or tie, even if school fees have been paid, the child won’t be admitted. Go and fix everything until it is perfect! They put a school’s stamp on every book; even exercise ones, to make it even more burocratic. Oh and more… after all these payments that a Kenyan parent finds very hard to complete, because usually the amount of money one spends on getting a kid into Secondary school is as twice as one month’s salary.
The most infuriating thing is all these secretaries, they know how it is hard, they know how parents are struggling to fulfill all these requirements, how much time they spend in queues (at least 3 hours in a bank to make one payment), but they want cut them a slack. They will make them feel like a piece of crap, they will give them all these looks. Ugh…