THE Tuition Fee Free (TFF) subsidy cut of 36.6 per cent by the Government for the 2020 academic year has been taken with mixed reaction by parents.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion in a democratic society where the government is by the people and for the people.
In every decision concerning government policies, there will always be those who agree and those who don’t depending on each one’s perspective and circumstances.
As a concerned parent, I wish to dwell on the positive side of this issue.
I appreciate the government’s decision because it will cause the parents and guardians to take more responsibility of their children’s education.
The TFF policy introduced by the Peter O’Neill government was a great relief to parents and guardians.
To others, it lessened their responsibilities to help groom, mold and shape their children for educational excellence.
Responsibility comes when there is participation.
The free-hand-out mentality promotes slackness and leads to poverty because it is not in our human nature to live on free hand-outs or miracles without utilising the creativity of our mind and investing our inherent gifts, talents and abilities in hard work to sustain our lives.
The second issue of concern is the ownership aspect of our children’s education. The free education policy has caused parents and guardians to neglect their responsibility to participate constructively to support the school board and management to benefit the children and the school.
As a result, essential self-help school projects such as mini-libraries, better ablution blocks, maintenance, and other good initiatives to add value to the children’s learning were neglected.
The third issue of concern is the non-transparency and accountability of the TFF subsidy that are deposited directly into the respective school’s accounts.
Most of these funds were allegedly misused by the education officers, headmasters, head mistresses, and the school board.
Government funds meant for children’s education were used as personal bank accounts by most of these school administrators for their own benefit.
Some borrowed large sums of money from loan sharks and repaid with accumulated interests.
I suggest that the Public Accounts Committee investigate how the TFF funds were used by all the schools because it is taxpayer’s money.
If school administrators are not held accountable, they would continue to misuse public funds in the New Year and the education level of our children will continue to deteriorate.
Former Board Treasurer,