PARENTS countrywide are reeling from the shocker school fees hike for next term with some schools demanding as much as $12 000.
School authorities from across the country have been wantonly increasing fees and most affected are the Form 1 pupils who are also burdened with buying new school uniforms.
For many the festive season will not be as cheerful as they will be busy scrounging to put together the amorous fees which the ministry said it has not approved.
This has not, however, stopped the schools from increasing the fees and parents for Form 1 pupils are being forced to pay in order to secure places for their children.
With an average civil servant earning less than $1 000, it defies all logic on how they are then supposed to come up with the fees in less than a month and premised on the December salary.
Although it is a fact that basic commodities have gone up, there is no justification for the figures and parents have every right to question the practice. Mission schools have also joined the bandwagon.
Private schools have also not been left out in the madness and are charging exorbitant amounts which are clearly beyond the means of many hard-working parents.
Surely demanding that a parent pay over $75 000 in school levy per term is a new level of greediness and there is no justification.
People are already seized with other financial commitments and this will only exacerbate the crisis.
Come January, many pupils will not be able to go back to their former schools and once again there will be another stampede for local day schools which are cheaper. This will compromise the quality of education and disturb the smooth flow of lessons.
Private unregistered colleges will once again thrive under such confusion.
It is shameful that the government has not taken decisive steps to halt this madness and restore order within schools. It is clear that cases of corruption and maladministration will crop up.
The education sector has received its fair share of issues from teachers’ incapacitation and this round of fees increase will further drive the quality into the doldrums.
Our plea to the education minister is to take concrete steps in addressing this matter as an emergency. Parents have a right to enjoy the festive seasons without worrying about school fees.
It would be sad if students drop out of school completely, undoing years of building up the country’s education system which is still highly recognised in the region and beyond.