By YVONNE HAIP
SCHOOLS in Western Highlands province want students to pay their fees upfront before they are allowed to attend classes and be entitled to boarding and lodging.
Frustrated parents told The National yesterday that their children were sent home over the last two weeks because they had not paid the fees in full.
They questioned the pressure for parents to pay up after Education Minister James Marape announced a total of K144.3 million in school fee subsidies were given last week.
Rose Korowa expressed dissatisfaction that schools continued to reject students even though they had paid more than 50% of the school fees.
“Students should not be rejected from school because they worked hard to earn their placing,” she said.
She said on Monday afternoon, teachers in a provincial secondary schools conducted a dormitory checks and removed students who did not settle their fees in full.
Ms Korowa said a female student who had paid K1,000 for school fees with an outstanding of K300 was forced to leave.
She said in another school a male student was not allowed to attend classes after he had paid K1,150 out of the total K1,500.
“This is totally unfair because students were selected upon merit and should not be rejected from school, especially given the current financially difficult times,’ she said.
Ms Korowa said students who had paid more than half of the school fees should not be removed.
“Schools are rejecting students to make space available for those who had paid upfront.
“The drive for education is creating a new culture where those who had money could push their child through regardless of merits.
“Many bright students were left out of school because of bribery being played by the school principals and boards which result in poor development in the country because of useful human resources left out,” she said.
She called on the provincial education department and relevant authorities to look into the matter.
Attempts to get comments from the schools were unsuccessful.