The Community Development and Research Agency (CODRA) says it has observed with grave concern that some public schools in the Bong County School System are “unscrupulously overcharging” parents above the required fees by the Ministry of Education 2018-2019 Academic Calendar.
Speaking in an interview with The Monrovia Times Bong County Correspondent over the weekend, the Executive Director of CODRA, Lassanah A. Dukuly, described the actions by the schools as “a complete disrespect to the Government of Liberia and an affront to its Pro-Poor Development Agenda.”
He wonders why public school administrators who are paid by the government chose to ignore the government’s mandate.
Mr. Dukuly said the act by the schools of charging parents above what the government, through the Ministry of Education (MoE) has officially stipulated is “repugnant” and must be halted.
He said the schools charged such fees under the pretext of “gala day fees, P. E. T-shirt, and catering to volunteer teachers’.
According to Mr. Dukuly on page 9 of the 2018-2019 academic calendar, the Government of Liberia, through MoE outlined fees that parents of public school students are to pay. He said government offers free and compulsory education from grades 1-9.
He said the government stipulated the fees of L$ 1000.00 for parents to pay for their children from grades 10-12 and that this amount should be paid in two sentiments: (First semester $500.00 LD and second semester $500.00LD).
CODRA said it has however received reports that some public schools are charging as high as between LD $5,000.00 and LD$8,000.00 as tuition per student. “He said this is an act of corruption under a smokescreen”.
He said at this point in time, the Government of Liberia, has recognized the economic hardship that many parents, especially poor parents are going through.
“This is why it was prudent on the part of the government to reduce fees for public high schools and to offer free education from grades 1-9,” he added.
“We do not understand why some public schools are still collecting fees from parents that the government of Liberia has not sanctioned,” he wondered.
The CODRA Executive Director, however, did not name the public schools that are allegedly collecting inflated fees from students in Bong County contrary to the government’s guideline.
But he said “We will continue to raise the red flag until service delivery is improved,” he added.
He also called on parents to reject such overcharging by the concerned public schools in Bong County and to report any public schools to the Bong County School Board.
He disclosed that the Board has the statutory mandate to reprimand those who ignore government’s mandate within the education sector.
CODRA also disclosed that it has launched a public awareness campaign for parents to know the government policy as it relates to the 2018-2019 academic calendar.