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Parents and the proposed tuition fees

Parents and the proposed tuition fees

This is the second time we are saying it in this column: that is, the proposed increase in school fees for school going pupils in secondary schools in the country.

When we first learned about it earlier this year, we raised concern over what the proposed increase would mean to parents and guardians. Although it was not made public at the time, we predicted public reaction to the increase if and whenever it was made official.

For now such proposed increase remains a rumor but it is becoming clear that government will be forced to implement it, given the present financial burden on the cash-strap government of Ernest Bai Koroma.

If we should recall, the decision to increase the current tuition fees for secondary school pupils was arrived at during the last conference of principals of secondary schools (CPSS) held in Bo in March his year.

The issue was referred to a special advisory committee in the ministry of education for advice.

It is not clear if the committee has come up with its recommendation but rumors persistently circulating around seem to suggest that the proposed increase will come into effect after all.

The delay might be due to government’s fear of any backlash if such action is implemented.

The exact amount government will be demanding from parents is yet to be disclosed, but from what we heard from the grave vine, JSS pupils would be required to pay nothing less than Le40,000 per term while the SSS pupils would pay Le45,000 in like manner.

This is where as a media organization we did express our reservation when we learned about it, and we are pretty sure parents would raise hell when such proposed increase comes into effect.

The reason being that without any additional financial burden on parents with regards the education of their kids, the economic reality of the day is enough to drive them mad.

The cost of learning materials including uniforms has already taken its toll on parents, not to mention the extra charges school authorities arbitrarily impose on our children.

In other words, increasing school fees at this crucial time by a hundred percent would not only create panic among poor parents but will send the wrong signal as we head to the polls in 2012.

For the government, it is a ‘look before you leap’ situation as parents sit on the side line waiting for a pay back.

We are waiting to see the proposed increase coming into effect and then watch the reaction.

We hope government will be wise enough to do otherwise.

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