Thursday, April 21, 2016
Tanzania keen on indicative school fees
THE government has reiterated its commitment to enforce control on school fees charged by private schools in the country to eliminate the notion of business in education. The Deputy Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Eng. Stella Manyanya yesterday informed Parliament that consensus on school fees would be reached through open discussions among stakeholders. These include schools owners, parents/guardians, legislators, the government and others. “It is true that in some cases the element of profit making in education provided in private schools was discerned. In-depth assessment of the school fees charged is absolutely necessary to authenticate the balance between the services provided and fees demanded. There are schools demanding 9.4m/- a year. We have to strike a balance,” Manyanya clarified. She was responding to a basic question by Halima Mdee (MP –Kawe, Chadema) who demanded clarification from the government on findings regarding the unit cost of a student/pupil in a private school as indicative to reasonable fees. Posing the question on behalf of Halima Mdee, Suzan Lyimo (Special Seats- Chadema) challenged the government to make the necessary improvement of public schools to allow convenient admission of students.
“Evident measures have been taken and some are still underway to make sure that all public primary and secondary schools are brought up to standard. More than 6bn/- has been set aside for the purchase of desks and other basic teaching materials. I call upon legislators to give serious consideration to costs involved in education which is a burden to many families,” she said. She said preliminary investigations conducted by the government on fees charged in private schools, both primary secondary, revealed huge divergence depending on the facilities, school location, the infrastructure and related services offered. Consultation was made with some institutions managing private schools, she added, with the findings used as guideline to the grouping of these schools in appropriate categories for recommendation of corresponding school fees. Former deputy minister for education, Phillip Mulongo who is also owns private schools called for fair negotiations as the government undertakes standardisation of school fees charged in private schools. “Mutual understanding is necessary in the course of discussion on the recommended school fees. It should be taken into consideration that some school owners received bank loans and are obliged to honor repayment,” Mulongo pleaded. Deputy Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Suleiman Jaffo concluded the debate by insisting that the basic focus in cooperation between different stakeholders was to attain broader achievements in education for the benefit of the nation.