Unity Party (UP) former representative candidate for Montserrado County Electoral District #16 Robert Teah has frowned on the Ministry of Education for increasing private schools' operational fees in the face of serious economic constraints facing the country.
Mr. Teah, a strong voice from the borough of New Kru Town on Bushrod Island, said the decision by the Ministry of Education to increase permit fees without prior consultation with school owners sends a negative signal for the educational system of Liberia.
The former political aspirant currently operates several schools in New Kru Town that are providing quality education to hundreds of underprivileged children.
He said the Ministry should have taken into serious consideration impacts of the Coronavirus on the educational sector that compelled students to be out of school for several months.
He said the increment of fees is counter-productive to creating an enabling learning environment for Liberian children most of whom are hoping that upon their return to school, the educational playing field would be better, but that seems to becoming impossible.
He said the current operational fees might compel some learning institutions to shut their doors to the student population whose parents lack finances to pay tuition for their children.
"Mr. Journalist, let me tell you here today that the current decision by the Ministry of Education will have a very sad and triggering effect on most jobless parents especially, women who do not have the financial ability to contain with high tuitions being charged by some learning institutions, coupled with the unfolding economic hardship confronting parents and sponsors of students in Liberia."
Liberia's educational law requires private schools operating here to pay annual regulatory fees to government thru the Ministry of Education.
School owners are required to pay fees based on sizes of their facilities such as Daycare, Elementary, Junior or Senior High, among others before being granted permission to operate.Information obtained from highly-placed sources at the Ministry of Education indicates that some schools are paying between US$150.00 and US$1,000 based on their school structure and educational services provided.
Meanwhile, Mr. Teah is appealing to the Ministry of Education to re-consider its decision by returning to the status-code consultations are held owners of schools to solicit problems and difficulties they are going through in keeping doors of their learning institutions open to the general public.