THE Government should consider providing school fee subsidy for rural-based schools in light of the financial struggle and economic situation facing the country.
A concerned businessman in Gizo, Western Province who declined to be named, said the notice to start classes at the end of this month is now causing a lot of challenge for many rural parents who are now under pressure to prepare school fees.
Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) has announced that classes for high school and rural training centres will commence 30th May.
This should be followed by primary and later early childhood education centres.
However, the business man said not all parents are prepared to send their children back to school due to personal financial constraints.
He said lack of income generating opportunities for many parents in the rural communities since the lockdown is a concern.
He highlighted the rising cost of fuel is also contributing to rising cost of goods and services.
“In these trying times, parents that have a number of children that are attending primary and schools at both the rural areas and urban centres will be finding it very hard to meet their school fee obligation.
“This is because they are also finding it hard to earn an income.”
In such a situation the government should consider offering free education to rural children or provide fee subsidy, he added.
The businessman pointed out that people who have good jobs and money can easily afford school fees for their children.
“But not for our rural parents who are struggling because of unemployment and only earn an income from their small markets,” the concerned businessman said.
By ULUTAH GINA
GIZO NEWS BUREAU