Broke private schools now fear being forced out of business by Covid-19
More than 100 private schools might not resume learning when schools reopen in January 2021.
The Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) on Sunday said that most administrators of the schools have decried lack of finances to keep the schools going due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are shutting down completely.
The closure will force parents into searching for alternative schools for their children.
Hundreds of employees working in private schools have also been forced to take salary cuts, ordered to take unpaid leave or laid off.
While focus has mainly been on teachers, the auxiliary staff that includes drivers, cooks, cleaners, watchmen, caregivers and finance staff have also lost their livelihoods as their services are no longer required with the learners away from school.
It is estimated that private schools directly employ about 300,000 people.
KPSA Chairperson Mutheu Kasanga said most private institutions are struggling to meet operational costs and now want the government to step in financially.
“We are not asking for free money, we are asking to be put where we can borrow at an affordable rates and repay it to help litigate this factor, just like other sectors who have been given relief and support,” Kasanga said.
Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said he was concerned that private schools are now demanding payment of fees from parents and that certain schools and parents have been haggling over the re-opening of schools and schools fees.
Statistics from the Ministry of Education shows the number of private primary schools in the country rose from 7,742 in 2014 to 16,594 last year. On the other hand, the number of public primary schools increased by only 1,728 in the same period.
Kenya’s academic year runs from January to November. Final year exams, which usually taken in October and November, have also been cancelled.
Magoha said students would repeat a year as schools had closed in mid-March, three months after the school calendar had begun.
But colleges and universities are set to reopen in September if they abide by strict guidelines.