Kenya’s education minister tells schools to refund 2020 fees
Kenya’s education minister, George Magoha, has said schools should either refund parents the school fees they have paid for this academic year or agree to put them toward next year’s tuition after it was announced that the country’s primary and secondary schools will not reopen until 2021.
Schools closed in mid-March, only three months into the school year, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and coronavirus cases in the country are still on the rise.
All students will be expected to repeat the year and final national exams have been cancelled.
Parents have expressed concern over school fees paid in advance for 2020. It’s believed refunds will cover fees for the second and third terms.
Classes have moved online and Kenya is fortunate to have 83% mobile internet penetration, compared with only 23% for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. But, not all students have access to digital learning as a result of income inequalities, limited access to electricity, and other social and cultural factors. Also, not all learning institutions are adequately prepared to integrate digital learning tools.
Simon Burgess and Hans Sievertsen have written for IZA World of Labor about the consequences of students missing periods of schooling as a result of the pandemic. They note that “Global home schooling will surely produce some inspirational moments, some angry moments, some fun moments and some frustrated moments, but it seems very unlikely that it will on average replace the learning lost from school.”
Burgess and Sievertsen warn that: “there will be substantial disparities between families in the extent to which they can help their children learn. Key differences include: the amount of time available to devote to teaching, the non-cognitive skills of the parents [which cover a range of abilities such as conscientiousness, perseverance, and teamwork], resources (for example, not everyone will have the kit to access the best online material), and also the amount of knowledge—it’s hard to help your child learn something that you may not understand yourself.”
“Consequently,” they say “this episode will probably lead to an increase in the inequality of human capital growth for the affected cohorts.”
Read Simon Burgess and Hans Sievertsen’s commentary in full: “The long-term consequences of missing a term of school.”