Sunday, July 13, 2014

Controversial fee structure for review in private schools in the country

At last the government has selected a private firm to review the controversial fee structure which is being charged at exorbitant rates by some private school owners at both secondary and primary levels in the country. It has been learnt. A spokesperson of the Ministry of Education and Vocational training Ntambi Bunyanzu said that, the ministry is in the process to accomplish contractual agreement with the firm to start the work on straight after it has finished tendering procedures that selected the firm. He said in an exclusive interview on Thursday this week that, the firm (name withheld) would work to establish a fair unit cost charged for secondary schools in the country, and later on would embark on primary schools. According to Bunyanzu, the consulting firm would introduce indicative best fee structure for the running schools in the country judging from the kind of education and the facilities being provided by the said schools in the country. He said the government’s reaction has come amid long complaints from some parents and guardians of students and pupils who are learning in private schools mostly those of English medium primary schools, as well as secondary schools. He further noted that, the Education Ministry has also tasked the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) to carry the same exercise for the higher learning institutions in the country. The initiative being undertaken by the government is to relieve local scholars of the great burden of the amount of money which they currently pay as school fees and which ironically only few parents in the community manage to pay. Confirming the exercise being undertaken by TCU, the Director of Accreditation Dr. Savinus Maronga said that, his institution has started to work on the relevant details in collaboration with the heads of the respective higher learning institutions accredited in the country. He said in a telephone interview on Wednesday this week that, TCU is working on the total unit cost which includes not only tuition fees, but the total cost a student is liable for payment and make a comparison if such payments do match with the services offered. Two weeks ago, owners of private schools through their organization known as Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-Government Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO) requested the government to reduce higher taxes imposed on them.   

Minister for Eduication and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa

The organization through its Secretary General Benjamin Nkonya was quoted as saying that, his organization is willing to reduce school fees by up to 30 percent but only if the government scraps all taxes imposed on them. According to the official, the taxes include property, land, and corporate tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), local government, work permit fees, occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) among others. He said if all these are scraped off, it would enable them reduce the current high fee structure being charged in their respective schools and colleges accredited in the country. Preliminary investigations has found out that, fees for private secondary schools as well as for those Primary English Medium schools charges are twice as much as what is being paid by students in higher learning schools in the country. A random survey carried out in some of the schools in Dar es Salaam region and in other parts in the country can establish that, the least fee payment for secondary schools range at between Sh. 1.5 and Sh. 2 million for day scholars and between Sh. 2.5 million and above for boarders. Earlier during the 2013/14 financial year, Commissioner for Education in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training Professor Eustella Bhalalusesa announced the government’s plan to work on the highly introduced fee structure by private education owners in the country and promised to work on the matter. He said that, the government is intending to minimize such complaints which it has seen is likely to cause segregation and discrimination among education stakeholders, whereby people who have will continue to benefit the fruits of the country than those who do not have. This is after the government has admitted the fact that there is unfair treatment among Tanzanians who are in need of quality education for their children being provided in private schools accredited in the country.  She noted that the government is fully committed to do away with the problem of removing all contradictions between private and public schools because private schools on the one hand are doing business.

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