By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
The Ministry of Education through Acting Minister Latim Dathong has suspended Maryland County Education Officer (CEO) Prof. Tehneseo P. Brohdonyen, and two school principals for one month for arbitrarily increasing fees in public schools.
The CEO and his co-workers’ suspension comes barely days after several parents in Maryland County accused public school administrators in Pleebo Sodoken District of hiking fees in contravention of the Ministry’s policy on fees in public schools.
They specifically named administrators of the Pleebo High School, Sodoken Central High School, Pleebo Elementary and Junior High School (Lab4lab) John Hilary Tubman, Cape Palmas High School as allegedly being involved in the act.
But in a release issued over the weekend, the Ministry suspended Prof. Tehneseo P. Brohdonyen, CEO; Mr. Gregory W. Nimely, Principal of John Hilary Public High School, and Ms. Annie T. Sleweon, Principal of Cape Palmas High School, respectively.
According to the release, the Resident District Education Officer of Pleebo Sodoken will act as CEO, while Mr. Handson Doe, Vice Principal for John Hilary Tubman High School, and Mr. Ambrose S. Nollen of Cape Palmas High School will serve as Acting Principals respectively, while the affected officials serve their suspension.
The decision to suspend the three education employees comes as a result of confirmation of extra fees charged by the John Hilary Tubman Public School and the Cape Palmas Public High School coupled with a lack of oversight of the educational system in the district.
The Ministry of Education officially has stipulated fees of LRD1000, LRD2000, and LRD3000 for elementary, junior high, and senior high public schools, respectively.
It warns that absolutely no additional fee should be charged except it is discussed, agreed and approved by the ‘Senior Management Team’ on a case-by-case basis.
On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, several parents lamented that it was unfortunate that the Ministry of Education that is responsible to regulate schools both public and private, would have public schools not upholding its policy on fees.
They explained that despite the Ministry’s policy, government schools in Maryland County were charging LRD5,500 for nursery, LRD6,780 for elementary division; LRD7, 350 for junior high division, and LRD12,800 for secondary division, respectively.
The Ministry of Education further warned that it will not relent to drastically deal with public school administrators who act contrary to its policy.
Acting Minister Latim Da-Thong via the press release, said any public school operating in the Republic of Liberia that will add an additional amount to the approved registration fees will do so at their own detriment and will be severely penalized.
“District Education Officers (DEOs) and County Education Officers (CEOs) are hereby mandated to increase their monitoring and supervision of all Public Schools to put an immediate halt to the unnecessary increment in the registration fees. Any DEO or CEO reneging on their monitoring and supervision will be dealt with administratively,” the release from MOE continued.
Acting Minister Da-Thong warned that any Public School administrator violating the stipulated fees sanctioned by the Ministry risks immediate dismissal. Editing by Jonathan Browne