The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Hike In Public Schools’ Fees Raise Concern In Nimba

By Solomon T. Gaye, Sr.
The change in the fees of public schools seems to be a mandate from the Ministry of Education to government schools that has not been spread out to principles or parents across the country.
According to the article published in this paper’s yesterday edition, documentary evidence shows that the government through the Ministry of Education has drastically increased its annual permit fees under the George Weah-led government by more than 700% and could be the reasons similarly compelling schools to step-up their annual school fees but broken down into several other fess that are causing hike in tuition and fees.
Over five schools’ administrators in Montserrado County confided to this paper that the MOE’s schools registered permit fees had been LD 8,000 but is now increased to US$290; an equivalent of LD 58,000 in addition to an payment of LD 4,000 as corporate registration fees.
Apparently, this decision which has not been rolled out to other counties is causing serious concerns for residents and parents in the nine districts in Nimba County as the Ministry of Education resumes schools for the 2020/2021 academic year across the country.
In an interview with this paper in Sanniquellie, Old Lady Oretha Paye, a parent accused the Principal of Sanniquellie Central High School, Avin G. Yadolo, of increasing the registration fee from LD 2, 000 initially stipulated by the government for junior high students to LD. 5, 850.
Madam Paye explained how the school administration allegedly collects LD. 6, 000 as registration fee for the senior high student creating serious hardship on the parent to register their children for this school year.
Since the resumption of schools in Nimba’s 13 educational districts without prior notice to the parents, most of them believe the hike in government schools registration fees couple with other fees is now contributing to the low enrollment of students at the various public school in the county.
At the John Wesley Pearson High School in Ganta, the administration is bent on collecting LD 5, 850 as registration fees for junior high school students and LD 6, 000 for senior high students with few students sitting in various classes.
Another parent, Yei Dolo, explained how the hike in the public school registration fee at the New Sanniquellie Elementary and Junior High School has led to her three girls not being in school for this academic year.
Yei accused Principal Kpan Dolo of collecting LD 4, 000 as registration fee for junior high students and LD 3, 000 as fees for elementary students which are extremely high fees for the less fortunate school-going children and their poor parents.
Both private and public school operating in Nimba are collecting fees for what is termed as county project or CEO fees while DEO fees being collected are referred to as district project.
The Principal of the Sanniquellie Central High School, Alvin G. Yadolo, denied the hike in public schools registration fees but confirmed that the County Education Officer (CEO) Moses Dologbay, is aware of the collection in fees and the increase.
While the Principal of the New Sanniquellie Elementary and Junior High School, Kpan Dolo, confirmed the LD 3, 650 as registration fee for junior high student and the LD 2, 550 for elementary students also explained that the CEO Dologbay knows about the CEO project fee and DEO project fee as well as other fees collected at the various schools.
When CEO Dologbay was contacted via mobile phone, he denied hike in the public schools fees in the schools system and attributed the increment to the low enrollment due to the change in the curriculum but under the watchful eyes of the MoE in the county, parents are made to pay to government schools a stipulated fee of LD 1, 500 from the initial LD 1, 000 as registration fee.
Old Man Willie Saye explained that as if not enough, at the New Sanniquellie Elementary and Junior High School beside the registration fee, the District Education Project fee and the County Education Project, the administration is also collecting extra fees which include school project fee, security fee, janitor fee, PE T. shirt, ID card and several other fees before a student is allow to sit in class.
Elder Dahn disclosed that it is because of the increment in the registration fee at the Martha Tubman Elementary School that parents are not registering their kids for the 2020-2021 school year.
However, according to a principal who begged for anonymity, schools are not to be blamed for increasing fees instead it is the government that should be blamed because initially the annual permit fees were LD 8, 000 but currently, a deposit of US$50 must be made to MTN; an account created by MOE and that despite it amounts to US$240, when such deposit is made, the actual sum is US$290 in addition to the LD 4,000 the schools have to pay as corporate registration fees.
This paper’s investigation has established that more kids are yet to be registered across the country due to economic hurdles compounded with astronomical hike in tuitions couple with government’s silence on fees and prices.
When contacted, the Ministry of Education’s Head of Communication, Maxim Bleetan who could not state the exact fees the government’s collects for permit, admitted that the fees are not stable though he doubted the figure reported to the paper by the principals.

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