MARACHA. Head teachers of primary schools in Maracha district risk losing their jobs if the proposed ban on chasing primary school children home over examination fees and primary teachers’ association (PTA) funds is defied.

Maracha resident district commissioner (RDC) Ms Esther Soet Cerop announced the ban after noticing that the practice is among the key contributing factors leading to poor performance in schools.

“Chasing children for examination fees and PTA funds while others are in class is prohibited according to government policy. Please call the parents in a meeting to mobilize the funds lest you lose your jobs,” Ms Soet warned during a meeting with headteachers on Thursday.

Soet also charged head teachers to allocate part of the universal primary education (UPE) funds to cater for examination fees if parents fail to comply.

“There was a week I went round in the schools and found that children were not in classes because they were chased home for examinations fees and PTA funds. Where do you allocate UPE money? I direct the CAO to correct the problem before it is late,” Soet recommended.

Earlier this week, it was reported that about 500 pupils from Ojapi primary school out of over 1, 700 pupils sat for second term examination and over 500 in Kololo primary school in Tara sub-county missed examinations because of failing to raise shs1,500 required for examination fees.

The headteacher of Ojapi primary school, Mr Bosco Adrimundu, however, denied any responsibility over the irregularity.

“Once the parents have failed to pay the examination fees their children automatically don’t turn up for the examinations despite the school allocating UPE funds to pay the arrears, so we are forced to pay the cost of excess papers ordered by the school from the examination board without achieving value for money,” Mr Adrimundu explained.

The ban is justified by the vulnerable pupils like Martin Mungufeni, a primary five pupil of Ojapi primary school who does casual labour to acquire scholastic materials.

“I lost my father and my mother remarried to another man. I now live with my grandfather who is elderly and can't afford school needs for me. I am still looking for money to buy books and a new uniform. I think it is right to stop charging us for examination fees and PTA funds since it is hard to get the money,” Mungufeni said.

Mr Joseph Lomongin, the Maracha chief administrative officer (CAO) appealed for harmonious negotiations between the school administrators and parents to avoid such huge number of pupils from missing examinations.

The report forced the district education department to form a team led by the district education officer (DEO) Ms Flavia Osoa to visit schools to ascertain the facts on ground.

Similarly, worrying statistics in which many pupils missed to sit term two examinations was realized.

Ms Osoa castigated some district political leaders for misguiding the public that the UPE program is totally free which makes parents ignore their responsibility of supporting schools in a bid to assess their children.

On average, each of the over 60 government-aided primary schools in the district receive UPE funds ranging between two and six million shillings depending on their respective population.