Parents and guardians in Kenya who fail to keep their children in school will be jailed if the Education Bill 2012 sails through Parliament and is signed into law by President Kibaki.
The tough penalty, which makes education free and compulsory to every child, is among a raft of measures sought by the Ministry of Education to ensure all school-age children are enrolled in school and attend classes.
The draft Bill proposes that a parent of such a child could be jailed for upto one year or a fine of Sh5,000 or both where the child fails to attend school regularly.
“It shall be the responsibility of every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be admitted his or her child, as the cause may be, to a basic education school,” reads the draft Bill in part.
And to further emphasise the parents duty, the draft bill adds that where a parent fails to comply with the above: “such a parent or guardian will be deemed to have committed an offence and is liable to punishment as may be prescribed under regulation.”
Only parents or guardians who present within a reasonable time a reason to the satisfaction of the Director General (DG) of Education for the absence of the child at school will escape this penalty.
Only the cabinet secretary will reserve the onus of exemption of any child’s admission to a school through a gazette notice and such an exemption shall be revoked at anytime, said the bill.