Kenya bans boarding for primary, lower secondary schools

Kenya’s Ministry of Education will abolish boarding schools for Grades One to Nine from next year, in a move that coming just six weeks to the reopening of schools — has caught many parents flat-footed.

Announcing the hugely significant policy shift, the principal secretary for Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, said the learners need to be close to their parents and guardians.

This comes as a shocker for parents whose children are already enrolled in boarding schools, but the move was praised by headteachers, who insisted parents must take up the responsibility of raising their children.

“The real reason we want to do away with boarding schools is to make education affordable. On average, parents pay up to KSh45,000 per year in extra county schools and KSh53,000 in national schools. [It’s even higher] in private schools,” explained the PS.

He said less than five per cent of public primary schools have boarding facilities. Speaking during the official opening of the Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association meeting at Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Primary School in Mombasa, the PS said the government prefers day schooling for junior secondary.

The policy shift is one of the recommendations made by the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms and presented to President William Ruto last Thursday. The President announced that junior secondary school will be domiciled in primary school, a departure from earlier plans to have it in secondary school.

The government will also not allow private schools to register boarding sections for junior secondary school. Registrations for new private primary schools seeking to have boarding facilities will also not be approved.

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