NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
After years of insisting that school fees payments
must be done only through bankers’ cheques or direct account
deposits, Kenyan learning institutions have finally embraced mobile
The institutions mainly primary and secondary
schools and colleges have added mobile money payments to the means
through which parents can pay fees.
The schools, both private and public institutions, have acquired
mobile money paybill numbers from service providers like leading
telecom Safaricom, which they then hand to parents for payments to
This week, as schools reopened for the first session of 2019,
hundreds of parents in the East African nation had an easy time
paying fees for their children.
"The private school my two children attend introduced mobile
money payments last term after parents suggested. I used the service
this time for the second time," Ali Said, a parent who lives in
Komarock on the east of Nairobi, said on Saturday.
He paid 70,000 Kenyan shillings (686 U.S. dollars) through the
system and printed a statement that he took to the school.
"Initially, I would have visited a bank, withdrew the money over
the counter, then deposit in the school account or buy a bankers
check," Merceline Aketch, a parent, recounted the process thousands
of Kenyan parents went through.
The process would sometimes take the entire day as banks would be
crowded with parents and pupils during the school opening days.
A spot check in several banks in the capital Nairobi this week
indicated that congestion initially associated with school opening
was missing, thanks to the new modes of fee payment.
Bernard Kivati, an accountant at a private school in Nairobi,
said they embraced mobile payments to conform with modern day
payment realities in Kenya.
"These days, every Kenyan transacts business on mobile money
which moves billions of dollars every year. So, locking out mobile
payments did not make sense," he said.
The mobile payments, according to him, have enhanced fee
collection as parents don’t have to wait to visit the bank or
schools to pay fees while others can pay in installments
On the other hand, others can borrow cash from digital lenders
and wire the same to schools.
"It is an efficient system because you cannot expect someone who
has borrowed digitally to withdraw the money and again take it to
the bank," he said.
The learning institutions are also accepting payments through
"You deposit the money and bring the slip to us.
"Then we will compile all the payments and come up with a list of
students who have paid fees," said Kivati.
Bernard Mwaso, a consultant with Edell IT Solution, noted that
schools had no choice but to embrace mobile payments.
"They had resisted them for years, sticking to the traditional
cheques but this was no longer workable because people have shifted
to mobile payment," he said.
According to Mwaso, public schools are among the last government
institutions to accept mobile payments.
"Several government agencies including immigration department and
transport authority, churches and hospitals now only accept mobile
"Schools had no choice," he said.
However, as schools embrace mobile money, banks are among the
biggest losers as they charge between 1 dollar and 5 dollars for
Cash deposits into school accounts are, however, free, but most
institutions especially public ones have been insisting on the
Mobile money transactions hit 20 billion U.S. dollars for the
first time in third quarter of 2018 as penetration clocked the 100
percent mark, according to the Communication Authority of Kenya
latest data, an indication of how ubiquitous the services is in the