Some stakeholders in the education sector have expressed fears that the new fees structure for secondary schools will compromise the quality of education.They have made several allegations: that boards of management of secondary schools have employed teachers to meet teacher shortage and that the new fees structure has cut the revenue base used to pay them that it will compromise the quality of education schools have been giving that schools had already done their budgets based on the fees they charged and that the action will interfere with the contractual arrangements schools had undertaken with suppliers of goods and services.The Report on the Task Force on Secondary Schools Fees 2014 puts the national average enrolment per school as 277 students as compared to the recommended optimal size of a school at 540 students.This puts the average pupil-teacher ratio at 32:1 which compares well with countries such as South Africa and India.The schools that have suffered the most from shortage of teachers are County and Sub-county Schools. These schools charge almost comparable fees to the new fees structure.The national schools which have been charging exorbitant fees don’t suffer from the teacher shortage these schools are experiencing.A huge proportion of the fees schools have been charging don’t actually go into paying teachers employed by Boards of Management of secondary schools.LearningIt is therefore wrong to claim that teachers employed by School Boards of Managements (BoM) are responsible for astronomical levels of fees in National Schools.The average pay of a BoM teacher is Shs10, 000, far below what a fresh P1 teacher gets upon employment. An average of eight BoM teachers in a school take about Sh800, 000 per year.A school with about 800 students and which charges Sh53, 000 as fees nets Sh42.4 million.Given that the school receives Sh9.6 million in capitation for approved crucial items, a school can comfortably run on Sh52 million.The school can manage school affairs with this amount so long as efficiency and application of the principle of economies of scale is part and parcel of its modus operandi.A school charging Sh90, 000 per student and with a capitation of S2, 870 from government nets Sh80 million. BoM teachers cannot gobble all these money given the paltry salaries schools pay them.Quality education is a function of committed teachers who are well supervised by the school administrations and the entire education management.Quality education is a product of effective teaching and learning, appropriate curriculum management and delivery.The writer is a communications officer, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

News Reporter