Tuition ban in Kenyan Schools: Was the Minister right?

Eneza Edtech Posts 2 Comments

Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo has had a battle with parents and teachers for the past two months when he slapped a ban on Holiday tuition in both private and public primary and secondary schools. The Minister declared tuition a violation of children’s constitutional right as provided for under the Bill of Rights; Article 5 of the Kenyan Constitution to be precise. He hence issued a directive stopping any kind of institutionalized and paid for remedial teachings countrywide adding that anyone found disregarding this order will be dealt with according to the law.

The ban has been opposed by Knut, Kuppet and the Kenya Private Schools Association. Knut national chairman Wilson Sossion has accused Mutula of failing to consult the stakeholder over the matter. “Where does he want children to undertake tuition if not in schools? Does he want them to go backstreets,” Sossion said, adding that not all children have comfortable homes for extra tuition.

While all this goes on, I feel that tuition is a necessary part in a child’s education, because tuition classes being small group or one on one help in addition to regular classes, I think they have the potential to help students. A teacher can give students guidelines, formulas, and tools to improve their skill set in any discipline, however it is the active application of these by the student that results in success. The one on one attention allows a teacher to focus his or her style to that student’s learning. This specialized teaching is ideal for students. If a student has a certain learning style and a teacher taps into that and uses that mode as the primary teaching style, learning is optimal.

I feel that the minister should have allowed the tuition; after all it has always been optional for the students. It is the parents, teachers and students who know how their individual performance in school and if a child feels he needs the extra tuition in order to succeed then teachers should be allowed to arrange for tuition, after all tuition is for the benefit of the child’s future.

Some people could argue that tuition helps kids develop whole in other areas besides academics but the truth is, even in school they always have time for games and student clubs, debates other co-curricular activities and it is even interesting because they get a good competitive environment to practice with their peers as opposed to when they are left at home alone.

Was the Minister for education right to ban Tuition in Schools? Let me know.

Isaac Kosgei

Operations Associate

Comments 2

  1. Abbas Mahmood

    Isaac,

    Thanks for your post. However, I disagree with your views — I am anti-tuition, for the following reasons:

    1)You claim that tuition is optional. This is wrong. From my experience, and my siblings’ experience, it was mandatory for ALL students to attend “tuition”. If you don’t attend, it’s the student who loses the most since 1) the curriculum coverage continues during tuition, meaning if you miss tuition, you’ll be left behind, and 2) Absenteeism from class (incl. tuition) = immediate expulsion (or suspension, if your lucky).

    2)You claim that schools always have time for games and co-curricular activities. I’m not sure which school you went to, but I personally went to a public school in Mombasa which had no field nor any student clubs. Believe it or not, my school didn’t have any extra-curricular activities. It was just reading books, period.

    3)I think you and I have a different definition of “tuition”. I am not going to give you the dictionary-definition. Rather, I am going to tell you what “tuition” really meant in my school (and so many other public schools): While I was in school, we were required to be in class by 6.30AM until 6.30PM. So, tuition was from 6.30AM-8.30AM and 4.OOPM to 6.30PM (4 hours a day, charging 300 shillings per student per month).

    4)This tuition meant that I didn’t have time to go to Madrassa (Islamic School) — and since I was a Muslim, this was a hugely disadvantaged, from a religious perspective.

    5)Work and no play makes Jack a dull boy 🙂 I fully support the Minister’s decision — I need my younger brothers and sisters to have time to play. To have time to relax. To have time to go to Madrassa. To have time to go visit family. And tuition ruins all that.

  2. Post
    Author
    mprep

    Abbas,

    Thanks very much for your perspective. I know several teachers and students that would echo your sentiments. Tuition and the pressure we put on students to do well on the KCPE is unbelievably harsh, and it’s great that we start a dialogue around the need for extra curriculars in school. Games, sports, and activities make education a more healthy, more holistic experience. We need to always voice our opinions so that kids have the best experience possible. And for doing that — I applaud you.

    Having lived in a very rural area of Kenya, Muhuru Bay, I would have to argue against your position, however. Tuition is a god send for students in high-poverty, rural areas. Oftentimes, students are DESPERATE to study and can’t get their hands on enough materials in order to try to bring themselves out of lives as subsistence farmers. I witnessed students sleep at schools, walk hours to borrow notes, and take advantage of every single tuition course their teachers gave by CHOICE. They had no other study options, and they wanted to work hard; they wanted to succeed. They NEEDED the extra tuition so very badly.

    MPrep is supporting the idea of choice, simply because every community is different. In my community, the vast majority of the students are devastated by the tuition ban. This handicaps them from chances of excelling beyond a 250 mark. This causes huge stress in their lives. So many of the students can’t even afford the tuition in the first place, and teachers, urgently wanting their students to excel, often provide it for free.

    We need to remember that 78% of Kenya lives in the rural areas, and so many kids look to school, to their performance, as the way to work themselves out of poverty. Muhuru Bay is not an anomaly; there are thousands of schools and millions of students across Kenya who tuition whole-heartedly benefits and supplements their education. They are VERY behind, and this is their chance to catch up.

    Thanks for your post. We’re excited to continue this dialogue and are quite glad you brought up these points to bring the argument to light.

    — Toni

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