Schools urged not to overcharge students
THE unnecessary charges and extra fees imposed on fee-payers by schools nation-wide should be stopped as it is denying students from continuing their education.
This was highlighted by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) James Bosamata as the ministry will meet this week to deliberate on the matter.
Mr. Bosamata was speaking at the radio talk-back show, Sunday.
The ministry’s advice came following concerns and complaints raised by many parents and guardians over the sudden increase in tuition and fee charges this year.
As the health pandemic continues to hit hard on many parents and guardians, the increase in charges was described as unnecessary.
As such MEHRD is appealing to all schools not to charge unnecessary fees on students this year.
Mr. Bosamata described the extra charges as disturbing to students who are desperate to continue with their education.
“Charging of unnecessary fees on students is disturbing and not good as schools are charging unnecessary fees,” he said.
He said, there should be valid reasons to increase the charges.
“Because when you’re charging fees you should have a purpose for it. So for what reasons are you charging those fees for?
“When schools are charging transfer fees, what’s the reason, and what are they going to use those fees for?” he questioned.
He said when fees have been charged for tuition it makes sense as it will go for the cost of school materials.
“Whereas the administrative fee is charged for what purpose,” he questioned.
It is understood some schools are charging $1000 for transfer. Other schools for the first time have placed a $500 development fee on students.
Mr. Bosamata said MEHRD will stop schools from charging unnecessary fees because the pandemic has caused many parents and guardians to struggle to earn money.
He said, some parents may be better off to afford such costs but many are not.
He said last year they have a lot of students who still have outstanding fees to be paid.
“Because of the situation all exam fees last year for forms five and six have been removed,” he said.
He said the ministry will meet next week to deliberate on the matter.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Matthew Wale has cautioned the government against paying what he described as “a lip service policy” on school fees for the 2021 academic year.
Wale’s call followed an announcement by the ministry the government would soon be issuing policy directives to Education Authorities and schools to address the predicament faced by parents in meeting their children’s school fee this year.
The Opposition Leader pointed out that school fee has been a serious concern for parents and guardians for some time and now with schools still maintaining their stance, the situation may now give rise to unwanted decisions being made and outcomes affecting the education of our children.
“These are difficulties that should have been foreseen and could have been averted had the government taken action much earlier.
“I, therefore, call on the government to also take the required steps now that the announcement has been made, to ensure that all our children continue their education in 2021 without any more hick-ups.
“I call on the government to make this issue a priority by making available the necessary financial support,” the Opposition Leader said.
By FOLLET JOHN