By DULCIE OREKE
EDUCATION Minister James Marape wants all local level government, boards of management, parents and citizen groups to construct additional classrooms for their children.
Mr Marape said his call for the construction of more classrooms was in anticipation of overcrowding, following the implementation of the universal basic education policy
He said the board of management, board of governors and governing councils for schools did not have the powers to set fee limits or to set conditions for fees.
He said the school board had the power to impose fees set by the National Education Board , provincial education boards and education agencies, and to collect and expend the fees.
“It has become an annual practice for many school boards to set conditions as to how much of the fees are to be paid by students upon enrolment.
“School boards that are doing this have exceeded their power,” Mr Marape said.
“The policy clearly indicates that the school authorities are to be flexible and understanding of the financial difficulties parents face,” he said.
However, he said, in many cases school authorities had failed to acquit these funds.
“Schools must be reasonable in the collection of fees to meet costs for getting the year started.
“However, parents must still honour their obligations to contribute to their children’s education by meeting their full share of the cost of educating their children throughout the year,” Mr Marape said.
He said the department recognised the problems parents face in settling school fees and school boards should negotiate with parents who could not afford fees.
“They can arrange to make an equivalent contribution in some other way, perhaps by contributing food for boarding students, or by students or parents doing maintenance duties.”