It is the beginning of the third term for schools and parents continue to suffer the same old pain inflicted by exploitative school administrations. The administrators not only hike school fees illegally, but also demand other expensive materials besides the tuition charges.
It is unfortunate and lamentable that the Ministry of Education, which is the overseer and regulator of the education sector in the country, just looks on as all such exploitation takes place.
On Monday, the Minister of State for Primary Education, Ms Rosemary Seninde, simply regurgitated the ministry’s directive that no school is supposed to increase tuition fees without the permission of the ministry.
On October 24, 2017, the Ministry of Education issued a circular to all school managers countrywide to appoint school boards or management committees. In the circular, the ministry ordered that no school would be allowed to operate without such a body or increase tuition fees and impose other school requirements without permission from the ministry’s Permanent Secretary.
However, schools have arrogantly defied the directives with impunity and the ministry has taken no action. Then on Monday this week, minister Seninde asked parents to report defiant schools which are hiking school fees contrary to the ministry’s directive.
The ministry already knows that schools have been charging such fees or demanding the impugned requirements from students. The ministry should stop exploitation by schools.
For example, has the ministry’s Inspectorate Department bothered to visit schools to ensure they all complied and appointed school boards or management committees? The ministry only stops at issuing warnings.
The ministry has in the past issued many such directives - it banned holiday coaching, teaching beyond 5pm or taking children to school before the recommended age, but schools have ignored all this with impunity.
The ministry does not need information from parents to know or punish defiant schools. A visit to schools at the beginning of every term or an inquiry into their tuition fees structure would reveal all the ministry wants to know.
Minister Seninde and her team should take a decisive action and stop schools from continuing to exploit students and parents.