It is a fact that when it comes to private schooling in the country, an illegitimate aspect contrary to expected international educational tenet has been made a perpetual norm in SL.
It of course comes to us as no surprise at all that the “roll” or index numbers have been denied to pupils and students until such a time that they should pay for fees; (for periods that they are not logically supposed to and, in advent, are indeed procedurally absent from schools!).
The private schools irregularly charge for fees during holidays!
In other words, like goods bought from shops or markets, the schools charge fees on monthly basis. The rest of the normal world charge for fees per term- (or on semester basis for that matter).
Our local schools do not break down the termly fees to monthly fractional basis for the sake of sincerity or good faith.
Despite the private schools being educational institutions, they are of course, in every sense of the word, business franchises.
Since parents do not refuse the private schools to make profits out of them, the truth is that the operators are not faithful to them since they (parents) are NOT indebted to the schools as to foot their teachers’ salaries and other miscellaneous schools’ bills at a time that they are absent from the school.
This is not only a disservice to the populace who live from hand to month, but abuse to their trust and intellect.
The few amounts of money that they manage to scrapple and get hold of so that they put their children through schools is achieved through great duress; only God knows how cumbersome it is for them to eke 10 dollars a child a month since they have to forego and skip some meals.
To make the matters worse, our private schools, from kindergarten nurseries to primary and secondary levels generally charge from 30, 40 to 70 USD a month!
At all logics, the fees themselves are not only exorbitant but blatantly fleecing costs, this is regardless of whether the standards of services rendered are apt or not!
When parents who are unsuspecting, diligent, and sincerely true to their charges are hit left, right and center by unscrupulous businessmen, it is indeed plainly abusive to force them to pay for something they aren’t getting their monies’ worth.
This is tantamount for public schools to slice pounds of fleshes that were never wagered for from the poor parents.
The outcry of the forceful payment ordered at, and for, such unjustified times have come out of, according to reports, a local private secondary school. As pointed above, it does not surprise us at all.
However, what really has raised eyebrows is ‘why now’?
This is because the trend has been so embedded that it has become an in-thing part of the local schooling lives!
We are though happy that at last some people have spoken. They are, of course, better late than never.
It is to this strength that we call upon the attention of the able minster Hon. Geedole to come, not only to the saving of the plight of the down-trodden narrated in the reported case, but to delve into and comprehensively review the private schooling fee schemes as a whole.
May the minister note that it has been a day to day trend for pupils from kindergarten to secondary school levels to pay for fees not only before they are excused for holidays, but virtually before the beginning of every month.
We noted quite well of how he is trying to have his hands on the job since his posting to the education docket.
We had planned to highlight on this plight but it has now been overtaken by events.
Whatever the case the two main issues raised here are the exorbitant fees and payments when schools are not in sessions.
We of course know and respect the rights of choices and its freedoms.
But when it comes to schooling, and hospitals, it is just as a public issue as costs basic commodities are.