Minister slams schools that charge project fees

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CHURCH agency schools are some of the main culprits collecting fees from their students, Education Minister Nick Kuman says.
“We appreciate the churches’ partnership with the Government in delivering education service, but they are becoming the main culprits to impose many types of fees on students despite being major beneficiaries of the Government’s tuition fee free scheme,” he said.
Kuman revealed this at a press conference at the Okapa Primary School during the launch of the rural electrification project in Eastern Highlands last week.
“The position of the Government is we are paying for the school fees for students attending elementary to grade 12. We started in 2012 and it continues this year,” he said.
Kuman said the Cabinet decision was that any school developing a project requiring parents’ assistance, needed to make a submission to the provincial education board (PEB) for approval before they could charge project fees.
“I have been repeating that no students should be turned away from class for project fees or any types of fee,” he said. “There is no such thing as projects fees, there is an established procedure that the schools have to follow.
“But parents are complaining around the country that their children are being turned away for not paying project fees.”
Kuman said they had charged some secondary school principals in Port Moresby because they were close to the Waigani headquarters.
“I have spoken to Education Secretary Dr Uke Kombra and he found some schools in Chimbu, Western Highlands, Madang and some provinces charging fees,” he said.
“Their principals would be suspended without pay until they have refunded the students the money they had collected in project or any other fees,” Kuman said.
KUman said the position of the Government remained the same that it paid the school fees.
“We are spending TFF funds every year of over K600 million,” he said.
“Why should the schools collect fees from the children?
“In the event that schools collect fees, their TFF will be held back until they have refunded all the money they may have collected.”