By Joseph Milton Lebbie…………………………….
The payment of school fees subsidies to government- assisted primary schools seems to have become more of a curse than a blessing to the schools most of which have become financially stranded due to government’s failure to pay the subsidies for two terms, a situation that has been severely undermining effective learning in the affected schools.
Many primary school heads interviewed have told Global Times that their schools have gone without subsidies since the beginning of this academic year.
They anonymously told this medium that they have incurred huge debts in trying to run the schools.
The situation, they said, has been financially embarrassing them and making it extremely difficult for them to run the schools.
They noted that over the years, the payment of school fees subsidies has always been delayed and has been very irregular, causing headache for them.
Many of the school heads pointed out that if the government no longer has the financial capacity to be paying subsidies, on time, then let it allow primary schools to be collecting school fees and put a stop to subsidy payment.
“We certainly need money to run the schools and we are not allowed to collect school fees, so, if the subsidies we use to run the schools are not regularly forthcoming, then the schools will definitely be in a dangerous financial position as they are in now,” they stressed, adding that such a situation bears the highest potential to undermine effective learning in primary schools.
It can be recalled that the payment of school fees subsidies to government – assisted primary schools was initiated by the late President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah-led SLPP government when Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie was Education Minister.
This came about when government declared free education in primary schools. But over the years, the delay and inconsistent payment of the subsidies has rendered the free primary school education meaningless.