Parents across the country find themselves caught in backdoor dealings, with some principals allegedly demanding bribes for securing coveted Form 1 slots in top schools. Desperation among parents to enroll their children in prestigious institutions has led to a scramble for admission slots, and The Star has spoken to several parents who chose to remain anonymous due to concerns about potential repercussions for their children.

One parent recounted his experience of seeking admission for his daughter in an Extra County school in Western Kenya. Dissatisfied with her placement in a Kiambu school, he explored opportunities in Nairobi. However, during his visits to various schools, he encountered demands for bribes ranging from Sh18,000 to Sh50,000. The process involved surreptitious lists and, in one instance, a call from someone claiming to be the Personal Assistant of the school principal, insisting on a Sh50,000 payment.

Another parent, whose daughter secured a place in a national school in Nairobi, revealed that she had to pay Sh20,000 to secure the spot. Despite directives from Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu against principals forcing uniform purchases from the institution, this parent claimed they were instructed to buy uniforms costing Sh33,000.

Reports suggest that unethical practices are prevalent, with some parents coerced into paying fees that are misrepresented as part of the admission process. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has expressed concern over such incidents, noting cases where principals are allegedly demanding amounts ranging from Sh10,000 to Sh150,000. EACC urged parents to report any instances of solicitation or acceptance of bribes for admission letters.

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