THE Government through the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) is working towards reviewing the school grants with the intent to increase it so that the tuition fees charged to students are factored in the grants and reduce tuition.
This was highlighted by the MEHRD Minister, Lanelle Tanangada, in Parliament last week.
This was in response to a concern raised by the Leader of Opposition, Matthew Wale, about tuition fees subsidy which are generally known as school fees.
In her response, Minister Tanangada, highlighted that the question of whether the school tuition fees would be continued or not under the new legislation was queried and to seek the Government’s position on this matter.
“My ministry’s current policy direction is to review the school grants with the intent to increasing it so that the tuition fees charged to students are factored in the grants and therefore, ease parents’ financial burdens in paying for their children’s tuition fees as they currently practice.
“So, in the context of Fee Free Education Policy, the current position of my ministry is that school fees should not be charged to our children’s education.
“Rather, the Government or state should provide free education and the financial assistance required to support student learning should be provided in the form of grants provided to schools,” the MP for Gizo-Kolombangara said.
She also informed Parliament that with the support of the Australian government through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), her ministry was able to recruit an International Technical Adviser to determine the cost of educating a child or student in the country at each level of education in the school system – That is for each subsector of our education system such as ECE, PPY, Primary school, junior secondary and senior secondary school up to Year 12 level.
“All costs that would contribute toward the child or student education leading to achieving quality education learning outcomes amongst students in Solomon Islands will be determined and factored in the cost analysis.
“From the data and information obtained, a new school grant level will be determined and applied to support the operation of schools,” Minister Tanangada said.
Since COVID-19 and the financial constraints facing many parents and guardians, there have been calls to reduce school fees and tuitions.
And government had responded by allowing schools in certain zones to charge certain amounts.
By MOFFAT MAMU