-as government enforces annual permit fees
Several private schools operating in Liberia might likely not re-open their doors to the public for Academic 2020/2021 due to failure to pay annual operational permit fees to the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Enforcement of the permit fees by the Ministry come at the time schools are resuming regular academic programs after prolonged closure due to the deadly Corona Virus, which caused all learning institutions here to cease operation in response to government directive.
The Ministry of Education has placed public service announcement on some local radio stations, urging school proprietors and proprietresses to regularize their status by renewing their operational permits before resumption of academic activities.
Private schools are not receiving subsidy from the government, which could assist them to reduce tuition and other fees being imposed on parents.
Inherently however, the government through the Ministry of Education recently released one million dollars assistance package for private school teachers, with each teacher expected to receive US$20.00 (Twenty United States Dollars).
This amount, according to some private school administrators, does not include other supporting staff such as cleaners and securities even though they are part of the total staffers in their respective learning institutions.
Some school administrators, who spoke to this paper based on anonymity for fear of reprisal, claimed the Ministry of Education had earlier requested them to prepare and submit one-month payroll, and that while working on the document, the Ministry again requested that they upgrade the payroll to three months.
They wonder whether this time around, the Ministry would also include those essential staffers, who were not covered in the one-month payroll earlier requested, so that all staffers would benefit from the package.
They lamented that private schools ceased operations during the entire Corona virus lockdown in the country, which badly affected revenue generation to pay instructional staff, rental, and yearly operational cost, including renewal of their permits.
They then appeal to government to reconsider enforcement of the permit fees to give them sufficient time to adjust and be prepared to make payment.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education is yet to disclose total amount of private schools in the country to benefit from the subsidy for private school teachers since payment pronouncement was made.
By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne