The National, Tuesday 12th February, 2013
By ELIAS LARI
PARENTS of students attending high schools and secondary schools in Hela have been told to pay fees in full before enrolment.
Many frustrated parents almost clashed with a school principal yesterday after they were told to pay school fees despite the national government’s free education policy.
More than 500 parents and guardians whose children attended Koroba High School in Hela were surprised and angry with the principal and school board’s decision.
Spokesperson David Tarali told The National from Koroba yesterday that they were not happy.
“The national government declared free education throughout the country, but look here at a province full with natural resources charging fees,” he said.
“Many parents and guardians are confused because as far as we know, it’s free education and we will only pay K200 as project fees.”
He said the same was faced by students attending Tari Secondary and Margarima High school.
Tarali said parents were told to pay K1,200 for boarding and K700 for day students.
He said the parents did not know why the schools were charging fees.
He called on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and acting Education Minister James Marape to send their officers to visit schools throughout the country to ensure the free education policy was implemented.
“Why are schools in Hela charging such fees when we do not hear from the rest of the country?” he asked.
Tarali said education was their children’s right and schools had no power to impose unnecessary fees to deprive them.
He said schools were not businesses but some were charging extra fees for their own benefit under the pretext of school projects.
“The national government has already released the first quarter funding into respective school accounts and so why are these schools in Hela charging fees on the students?”
Tarali called on education authorities in Hela to intervene and explain this to the parents.
Education authorities in Hela could not be reached for comment yesterday.