The Ministry of Education recently announced publicly the reduction of tuition fees in private schools across the country. The decision by the Education Ministry was a result of a meeting held with authorities and administrators of private and church-run schools. The meeting was held amidst public outcry against the arbitrary and unceremonious increase in tuition and other fees at private and church schools in Monrovia and its environs by either or more than a hundred percent.
As a result of the action, many parents, guardians and self-supported students were unable to meet up with such economic challenge, thus preventing many students from adhering to the process of registration. The primary demand of private school authorities was the payment of more than seventy-percent of the yearly fees without consultations with their respective Parents Teachers Associations or PTA’s, something many could not afford. Justifications provided by authorities of private schools were to ensure increment in salaries, as well as the provision of benefits for their instructional staff so as to avert their exodus.
Following the recent meeting, the Education Ministry announced that the Baptist, Methodist and Episcopal School systems would reduce their fees by fifty-percent, while the Catholic and Lutheran would do seem by twenty-percent. But the ministry did not give reasons for limiting the decision to only the Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Catholic and Lutheran school systems, even though there are other private schools which may not form part these denominations.
Many may also be hopeful that the ministry can address the issue of tuition fees in other private schools throughout the country that seem not to be complying at all with the mandate. Other than the foregoing, there are concerns as to why have private school authorities/administrators not buttressed the government’s decision by also announcing such decision or mandate from the government to the public or their respective PTA’s. It would have been prudent or even more honorable on the part of private school administrators undertake such initiative as a way of allaying the fears of parents and guardians regarding their sincerity.
We are of the fervent belief that should the Ministry of Education make a follow-up to the recent decision on tuition fees, it would help to stimulate the process of monitoring and evaluating that which was agreed upon by it and private school authorities.
Even though this is being recommended, church and private school authorities must exercise the highest degree of honesty and uprightness in relating to the respective PTA’s and students by way of meetings or public service announcements the decision reached by the government and them. But to remain conspicuously silent since the meeting a few weeks ago only sends the wrong signals.