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In the wake of escalating public concern over skyrocketing increase in tuition at private schools in the country ahead of the beginning of this academic year, members of the House have summoned Education Minister Etmonia D. Tarpeh to appear next Tuesday for clarifications.
“The Minister of Education should be invited by this plenary to come and tell us what she has done with regards to this high school fees charged in most of the private schools across the country,” Rep. Eugene Falla Kparkah (Lofa County) said.
Rep. Kparkah, whose communication prompted to the summoning Minister Tarpeh, said that if the issue is not addressed, most students “might not be able to attend schools this year.”
“We should therefore do all we can to address this issue as direct representatives of our people,” he urged.
Rep. Edward Kaffia (Bong County) emphasized that the Education Ministry, which has statutory responsibility to regulate the activities of all academic institutions, must be invited to provide clarification on the issue.
Several lawmakers supported the move for the education minister to appear at plenary and provide the ministry’s stance on the matter, which they also described as “grave.”
But Rep. Ben Fofana (Margibi) and Rep. Gabriel Nyekan (Montserrado) differed with their colleagues on the issue.
Rep. Fofana said the increase in tuition and other fees was due to the rising cost in running most of the private institutions.
“For instance, government increased the salaries of its teachers and most of the teachers in the private schools have to leave for greener pastures in the public schools. So, as a result, the private schools have to increase fees to address the demands of their staff,” he suggested.
Nevertheless, a similar reason was given by Rep. Nyekan, the lawmakers voted for the Education Minister to appear at plenary next Tuesday to clarify the matter.