By LARRY ANDREW
JUDY Meyep is one of the thousands of parents who will be paying the mandatory 37 per cent of their children’s school fees this year.
She and other parents have been preparing since last year for the start of the academic year today. They have been enjoying since 2012 the Government’s free education policy which has now been amended to have them pay 37 per cent of the fees.
“The (amended) Government policy on the school fee is a huge burden to us especially those of us who are single parents. It is a tough decision from the top (Government).”
The single mother-of -three from Zifasing village in the Wampar local level government of Huon Gulf district was busy at her small 41-Mile market table selling mangoes and coconuts.
Judy, 48, hopes to raise enough from her small business to pay for her youngest son’s school fees who will be in Grade 12 this year at the Markham Valley Secondary School in Morobe.
Her elder son and daughter had completed Grade 10 and decided to get married. Her son was attending the Bundun High School along the Bulolo highway. Her daughter was attending the Salamaua High School.
It means Judy will have to continue her small business to look after her youngest child still in school.
“The elder children after their Grade 10 education decided to get married and that gives me no choice but to continue the market so I can look after my family.”
She brings her garden produce to the 41-Mile market to sell. Mangoes sell for 50t to K2. A bunch of coconuts sell for K3 or K4.
She does not have any other source of income and depend solely on what she earns from the market.
Life is tough but Judy knows it is her duty and responsibility as a parent to provide the best education for her children.
“ With the school fees we will be paying this year, mothers like myself have been struggling to secure funds to ensure (our children) get a good education. At the same time, we are trying to make ends meet for the family.”
With the two older ones no longer at school, the load is a bit lighter. She now can concentrate on the youngest son.
“My third born a male child will be doing Grade 12 this year.”
The Government from this year is concentrating funding on students attending tertiary institutions, offering loans to pay for their fees. They will repay the loans when they start working.
For children in schools, the Government will pay 63 per cent with parents to foot the remaining 37 per cent. The deadline for parents to pay up is around August. So that gives Judy and other parents some breathing space.
“With the school fees we will be paying this year, mothers like myself have been struggling to secure funds to ensure (our children) get a good education. At the same time, we are trying to make ends meet for the family.”
She however will make sure she does not let her son down.