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Parents decry fees hike in public schools

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By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County

Several parents in Pleebo, Electoral district#2, Maryland County have accused public school administrators in the district of hiking fees despite the Ministry of Education’s policy on fees in public schools.

They specifically named administrators of the Pleebo High School, Sodoken High School, and Lab4 High School as allegedly being involved in the act.

Speaking to this paper on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, several parents lamented that it’s unfortunate that the Ministry of Education that is responsible to regulate schools both public and private, would have public schools not upholding policy fees.

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“We wonder what the Ministry is doing; if they say Pro-poor and allow a government school in the county to charge poor market women like us LRD7, 350 for our children’s school fees, then why they are Pro-poor for na?” They asked.

They said the sudden increment in fees by these government schools despite the ministry’s policy, totally contradicts the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda.

Student Patience Weah, an 11th grader at Pleebo High School said, she was shocked when the Registrar informed her that the fees have jumped from LRD3,000 to LRD7,350 per student.

She noted that because of the information from the Ministry of Education that public schools’ fees shouldn’t exceed LRD3, 000, her parents gave her the said amount but she was shocked to have heard about the sudden increment in fees.

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“When the registrar of my school (Pleebo High School) called LRD7,350 I felt he was joking, so I presented my LRD3,000 but he refused and threw it back to me”, Student Patience narrated.

Jocab Hinneh, a 12th grader from Sodoken High School said, he has paid LRD6, 500 as fees, alleging that the situation is not the first, because last year, they paid almost a similar amount.

Both students, including their parents, said these government schools have been violating government policy for a long time.

“We hope the Ministry will send her monitoring team to the County to check on these people because we have talked for a long period of time now but no better”.

“We think what is happening in this county is different from other counties but if one or two school administrations are served letters of suspension, they will come to themselves.

We have receipts to this situation so no government school administration within this district will say what we are saying is false; they all know”, they disclosed.

When this paper contacted the County Education Officer (CEO) for comment on these allegations, Tehneseo Brohdoyen, Sr. said, parents, are contributing factors to the hike of fees in public schools.

He said despite complaints about public schools inflating fees, his office has not received any formal complaint.

CEO Brohdoyen said parents should have informed their education officers about those issues confronting them.

However, he warned school administrators to desist immediately if the claims by parents are true while calling on parents to do formal letters of complaint so that appropriate measures would be taken against school administrators involved in violating government policy.

The CEO also cautioned school administrators to observe the mandate of 45-50 students per class. 

Pleebo City Mayor Wellington Kyen, promised to intervene on grounds that his citizens’ interest remains his concern.

“We will visit the various district education officers to know what really happened”, Mayor Kyen said.

The chair of the Parent-Teacher Association of Sodoken High School Mr. Dio Wah promised to speak on the matter at a later date.

Despite the outcry about a sudden increment of school fees, the price of a 25kg bag of rice has increased from L$2,800 to L$3,500, while a gallon of gasoline has been hiked from LRD800 to LRD1,200, resulting in a corresponding increase in transportation fares.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/senate-invites-education-minister-others/ Editing by Jonathan Browne

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