Tuition fee-free policy not a success, govt says

National

THE Government has admitted that its tuition fee-free education policy has not been 100 per cent successful.
Education Minister Joseph Yopyyopy was commenting on the K600 million free education policy delivery so far, especially the 50 per cent commodity component contracted to a company.
The contact was initially awarded to Treid Pacific before it was given to MH Supplies.
The distribution of the materials was launched by then Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the company’s Papa Lealea junction warehouse last year.
Managing director of MH Supplies Datoy Jimmy Poh was out of the country and could not be reached for a comment yesterday.
Yopyyopy said the delivery issue should not be blamed on the contractor but on how the programme was managed by the Education Department.
He said the Public Accounts Committee had already summoned the department secretary to explain how the free education policy was progressing.
“I am not 100 per cent satisfied but let PAC do its job first,” he said.
“All I know is that MH Supplies was given a three-year contract that is renewed annually based on performance. I guess it’s not about the contractor. It’s how it’s being managed in the department.”
On whether the tender published by the National Procurement Commission for next year’s commodity component can be stopped until an investigation is carried out, he said it could not be stopped as it would be chaotic for schools.

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