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Parents to Buy Arm Chairs

Report from Kakata, Margibi County says the Lango Lappaye High School is faced with serious chair shortage. The situation has raised concern in Kakata with most parents resolved to at their own expense, purchase additional arm chairs for the school.

They reached the decision on August 28, 2013 at a Parent-Teacher-Student Association meeting convened by the Administration of Lango Lappaye. Approximately 440 arm chairs are expected to be bought by the administration, using the PTSA fees already collected by the institution.

It can be recalled that every parent who has a child or children in the school agreed to pay 150 Liberian Dollar per child as PTSA fee. The parents are also expected to provide money for security guards to protect school’s computer laboratory.

Speaking during the meeting, the Principal of Lango Lappaye High School, Mr. Robert Zaza, told the audience that chairs are available only for the students, who have already registered, noting that more students especially from 10th grade and above were still coming for enrollment.

He said based on Ministry of Education policy, public school administrations are not to ask parents to pay maintenance fees, PTSA fees, activities fees or buy chairs for their children but due to the fact that subsidies from government are not frequent and on time, the school faces lot of difficulties.

Mr. Zaza disclosed that Lango Lappaye received three packs of chalks from the Government of Liberia for last academic year, something which he noted did not last for even three days and was embarrassing.

He explained that the problems with Lango Lappaye can be found at the KRTTI Demonstration and the E. J. Yancy Elementary and Junior High Schools which are also public institutions in Kakata, Margibi County. 

For his part, the PTSA Chairman of the school Mr. Aaron S. Dennis said the PTSA fees collected were not intended for chairs, but they were constrained to use the money to buy arm chairs.

He said some students will have to use the incomplete multi-purpose building of the school as its enrollment was increasing every year.  According to him, over 2,000 students enrolled at Lango Lappaye High last academic year and more than 3,000 are expected this school year.

In a related development, a former Principal of Lango Lappaye Mr. Joe R. Leetor, who is current advisor to the PTSA, said the chair issue is a challenge for both parents and students.

For her part, Madam Oretha Charlie, who spoke to our reporter after the meeting, said if parents left the problem to educational authorities in the country, their children will not learn anything, and they will end up being wheelbarrow men and women.

She said policymakers only care about their children and do not care about other people’s children because their children are enrolled in expensive institutions (private schools) where they spend lot of finance and abandon the public schools.

Oretha further noted that government much pronounced free education program was mere lip service because subsidies are not being provided to public schools, so parents are constrained to rally support to enable the government-run schools operate efficiently.

She recalled that last academic year, parents were constrained to ease the problem of chalks shortage in public schools in Kakata because they want their children to achieve an education, lamenting that the government has disappointed most parents by lying about free education.

Oretha added that when the Government of Liberia focuses on public schools, the school administrations will not ask parents to pay fees they are paying.

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