By Mwakwaya Raymond
The government has been asked to waive school fees for this term at the public and private learning institutions so as to cushion parents from the pressure of ongoing economic hardships meted out by the advent of COVID 19 pandemic.
Kaloleni MP Paul Katana wants the government to step in and bail out the suffering parents who are currently forced to use every penny at their disposal to cater for the livelihood of their immediate families.
The legislator says the government should give the parents a shoulder to lean on before they could muster themselves during this hard time.
“Most of these parents were laid off their duties in various organizations due to the Covid 19 pandemic and they are yet to resume their duties, it’s only viable to allow them a breathing space by waving away all fees for this term,” he said in an interview with this writer.
DEAL WITH ESSENTIALS
Mr Katana, who was a journalist previously, said parents should be left to deal with the essentials for their families’ basic needs.
The MP suggested that the government should also cushion the private schools by giving them some incentives such as soft loans once they waive this term’s school fees.
“The government should use its resources to back up the private sector so as to ensure learning is not disrupted during this coronavirus era,” he added.
On the matter of social distancing and how schools will be able to realize it, the MP said he would soon launch seven primary schools built through National Government Development fund in a bid the adhere with the health protocols.
“These schools will help to decongest some of the crowded schools once they are launched which I will do immediately after the burial of the former legislator Gunga Mwinga on Saturday, January 9 at Chanagande area,” he added.
Among the schools which are set to be launched are Mwanajili, Marikanui, Migwaleni, Baraka, Kinani primary school alongside others.
LAST MINUTE RUSH
Meanwhile, parents in Mombasa were in a last-minute rush to purchase school necessities for their children.
The Coast Media Group spot-check along central business district (CDB) of Mombasa saw parents and guardians making last minute shopping for children’s back to school calendar this year.
Along the Biashara Street, one of the busiest roads in Mombasa was a beehive of activities as parents and other shoppers crowded different outlets to purchase different items and other necessities for their children.
Bata Shoe shops, street vendors and hawkers recorded brisk business for the sale of pairs of shoes and pairs of socks.
“My son had his uniform torn as you know they have been out of school since March. He is now oversized and needed a new pair,” said Khadija Hassan, a parent found going through the buying ritual at the Mombasa Uniforms Shop.
Some of those interviewed decried high prices of the school items as outlets took advantage of customers’ surge to make a kill.
“The prices are too high, almost double, we are feeling the pinch, “she added.
Other parents also interviewed said they were in a tight spot as the prices of school items are expensive and they cannot afford due to Covid-19 inflicted economic crisis.
They said most of them were forced to buy new uniforms, facemasks and sanitizers for their children who are reporting back to school on Monday.
Students interviewed are excited to go resume learning after being away for almost one year and are ready to adhere to the Covid 19 measures put in place in their schools.
Ahmed Nazir, a dealer in school uniforms said business has bounced back after months of business dry spell following the closure of learning institutions by the government march last year after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Nazir said for the last three days they are experiencing last minute shoppers rush for the last three days after the government announced the date of resuming normal learning although most of parents are buying one pair of uniform because of lack of money.
“Business is good. We are witnessing brisk business during this reopening, we are forced to increase prices because of the increase of customers,” he said.