HAPPY OUTCOME: Esther and Edwin Kinyanjui with Deb Frecklington.
HAPPY OUTCOME: Esther and Edwin Kinyanjui with Deb Frecklington. Contributed

Kenyan student returns to school after bipartisan support

POLITICIANS from both sides of the political divide helped a Kingaroy student return to school after his mother received large fees.

Esther Kinyanjui and her son Edwin, both from Kenya, moved to Kingaroy from South Australia in early 2017, where Mrs Kinyanjui took up work as a nurse and Edwin began Year 10 at Kingaroy State High School.

Nanango MP Deb Frecklington said Mrs Kinyanjui approached her after receiving a $9500 bill for Edwin's international student fees.

Mrs Kinyanjui was told she had to pay the fees upfront, otherwise Edwin could not go to school.

"Edwin is a very bright student who loves school and both he and his mum were devastated,” Mrs Frecklington said.

"A young person must be able to go to school, so I immediately wrote to the Minister for Education asking for him to be able to return while an outcome could be negotiated.

"It was a Parliament week, so I also took the oppor- tunity to speak directly to her about Edwin's case.”

A spokesperson for Education Minister Kate Jones said the Department of Education and Training International was investigating the case, and while they were, Edwin was allowed to return to school.

"When the Minister became aware of the matter following the letter from Mrs Frecklington, she asked the department to assist the family with the application process and investigate whether there are grounds for the international student fees to be waived,” the spokesperson said.

Mrs Frecklington said the family was looking for a new start in Kingaroy.

"I wish them all the best and I know Kingaroy will offer a warm welcome to them both as they start their future together in this great part of the world,” she said.

Students who are not permanent Australian residents or citizens are referred to DETi for enrolment.

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