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GeneralLiberia news

Tuition scandal at St. Edward Catholic School

-Over 20 students affected

St. Edward Catholic School suffers theft, leaving several students affected.

By Lewis S Teh

Monrovia, Liberia, May 17, 2024- Parents and guardians of St. Edward Catholic School in Logan Town, Electoral District#15 on Bushrod Island, have reported theft at the school, allegedly involving its immediate past business manager.  

Parents claim to have paid their children’s fees through the office of the school’s former business manager, but their children have been sent out, a situation the administration has yet to address.

One of the victimized parents, Madam Samira Tokpah, made the disclosure to reporters at the St. Edward Catholic School compound this week following the discovery of the act. She said it was saddening and frustrating to see her child being sent home by the school after making full payment through the office of the business manager.

“My son grandfather paid the business manager office $US255 for his school fees, but he was sent out on the ground that his name wasn’t found on the school’s roster of students who paid school fees; this is embarrassing and uncalled for,” Madam Togbah lamented.

“Following the payment of this money, we were issued an official receipt, but to our surprise, my son was sent home while they were taking their fifth-period test, and we are yet to get a clear understanding from the school authorities regarding this situation.”

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According to her, the situation has caused them serious embarrassment. She said, ” We engaged the school authorities and the Catholic Education Secretariat, but they keep telling us that once our children’s names don’t appear on their roster, that means they didn’t go through the banking system, and as such, they are not responsible for us. This is why we thought to inform the public about the situation.”

She said that following the engagement with the CES and the school, both authorities informed them that the business manager in question is no longer employed with the school.

“I think the St. Edward Catholic School must be held liable for this criminal act because the business manager was in their employ,” Tokpah Madam countered, adding, “There’s a need for the police to take seize of matter.”

But reacting to Madam Tokpah’s assertion, the Principal of St. Edward Catholic School, Andrew L. Towouh, confirmed that the former business manager was involved in theft at the school, bordering on financial malpractice, but argued that the school couldn’t be blamed. Instead, parents themselves are responsible.

“That situation is what we call concomitant ignorance; people know they shouldn’t be doing certain things, but yet, they choose to do it for certain reasons, and for this, we can’t be blamed,” Mr. Towouh argued.

According to him, his role at the school is clearly defined in the Catholic Education Secretariat or CES: ” As principal, I’m there to supervise the school’s activities only. I don’t come in contact with anything that involves money.”

Principal Towouh said information about the school, including tuition payment and other activities—be it seizure or punishment—is spelled out in the school information brochures, which parents and guardians have.

“If you ask me, I will say yes, that scandal happened here, but the authorities from the CES came and took certain actions, so the individual in question is no longer with the catholic system.”

According to Mr. Towouh, part of his supervisory role is monitoring the school’s roster to determine who has paid fees and who hasn’t. He also ensures that all parents are aware that payments are made through the bank, not to individuals.

“It was due to the normal checking that we came across this act; that was how authorities from the CES acted swiftly by relieving him from his post, and we are also told that the number of students affected is huge in their twenties,” he revealed.

The Catholic Education Secretariat requires parents to pay all fees via commercial banks, but some parents build relationships with the business office and pay directly to the business manager; whether the manager takes those fees to the bank or not is something else, as in this current case. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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