The National – Monday, February 14, 2011
By YVONNE HAIP
SOME schools in Western Highlands only allowed students who paid more than 70% of their fees to enter the classrooms.
Students who have paid half or less were being turned away by authorities in certain secondary and primary schools.
Parents claimed school board members of a particular school had told them to “take their children and teach them in the village”, a comment which they said was completely wrong to say.
This had forced parents to raise concerns over the lack of leniency by schools, especially when imposed school fees have soared.
A widow and single mother Agnes Toimb said she had paid K500 for her daughter who was selected to do Grade 9 at the Fr Peter (Fatima) Secondary School, but school authorities had denied her child from registering.
She said the school fee was K1,400 for boarding students and parents were required to settle at least 75% of the fees before their child could be allowed to register.
Another guardian, Rachel Willie, said her brother, who would also be attending the same school, paid K800, but was not allowed to register and was sent home.
Concerned parent Kuiya Andi, whose son would be doing Grade 12 at Mt Hagen Secondary, said this year’s fees went up to K1,700, making it the most expensive secondary school in the province.
He said this was a total rip off for struggling parents who had no formal source of income, apart from subsistence farming.
Frustrated parents, who met with board members and the deputy principal, to air their concerns last Tuesday, were told that the increase was mainly due to the large sports fields in the school that required regular maintenance, as well as for paying for electricity and other services.
Andi said such activities had nothing to do with parents, and was the responsibility of the education department, but parents were being made to suffer, while the rights of students to get educated were being denied.
He said parents would not accept the explanation and called on education authorities in the province to address the issue.
Tarangau Primary School told the parents of continuing students to pay 70% of the fee before enrolling their kids last Wednesday.