By Nsunjo Erica
Schools are one of the most affected sectors by the pandemic, which saw indefinite and permanent closure of many as governments struggled to impose COVID-19 restrictions to combat the spread of the virus.
Countries have slowly been adjusting and easing restriction which includes slow by the slow reopening of learning institutions, as we speak, some countries have already opened schools and parents are feeling the heat.
A multiple numbers of parents were laid off either temporarily or permanently from their places of work, many can no longer afford to take their children to private schools following their incapability to pay the fees.
The study reveals that a couple of parents may be forced to pull their children from private schools to public schools where education is free as a way to cut back on their expenditure during these times of unemployment.
According to some sources, In Kenya, some parents who were once willing to affordably pay 800,000 shillings a term at international schools are now willing to go for public schools that don’t charge fees but a few requirements.
Governments like in Kenya, have asked parents who are unable to pay private school fees to transfer their children to free public schools when they reopen in October, as another way to survive these hard economic times.
“The government has made education free in this country for both primary and secondary school children, anyone saying they do not have school fees must understand that,” Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.
“If you take your child to a private school, it means you have money to pay. The private schools understand the challenges faced by parents and they will also handle each case as it comes,” George Magoha added.
Other parents that could afford the small private schools that could accommodate up to about 10,000 learners are also in for a shock since these schools are those that permanently shut down during the COVID-19 economic turmoil.
Permanent closure of these small affordable private schools only leaves economically unstable parents with no choice but to take their children to public schools where costs for requirements are affordable.
Private schools unlike public ones are owned by entrepreneurs who have outstanding loans they collected when starting up these schools and had given commercial banks their buildings as collateral.
Owners of private schools pleaded with their governments to support them offset loans, If this fund is not there, they anticipate the commercial banks will take over their schools. Parents will be left with no choice but to opt for public schools.
According to the Kenya Private Schools Association, about 124 private schools in the country are expected to shut down permanently following the huge accumulation of depts. This comes as a result of the closure of institutions in March.