Powerless Education Ministry

By Henrietta Tukpa, Intern reporter

MONROVIA-The  ministry of Education has disclosed  that it is powerless to  regulate the fees of private schools in the country.

That the laws which established the ministry  failed to grant them such authority to regulate them; which renders it powerless; thus giving the way for private schools to charge any amount of school fees for  students in the Republic of Liberia.

The Deputy minister of Education for  Instruction, Latim Dathong said at the  ministry of Information Thursday press conference.

“When school is about to open, there is lot of hardship in it as a country. Let  me be very clear, there is nothing in the laws of Liberia  that gives the ministry of education any power  to regulate private schools. Nothing in the law. None of the legislature. No  law in this country gives us the right to regulate private school  fees. We are citizens of law, we are not going to do things   without laws. We will do things with law,” he said.

He continued: “Again if a woman opens a private saloon, a private school, is a private business. As citizens, it is your choice to take your children to a private school. Nobody forces you; you do it voluntarily. Just  as you go to a saloon to do your business, it is you go to a school- It is  a private business. There is no law in the Republic of Liberia, go and do your research, in the Republic of Liberia to regulate private school fees,” he said.

“We have the right to regulate public school fees. If you read the Public  act of 2011, it gives us that power. We are not going to superseded our authority.”

“We do not have  the power to tell a private school how much to charge, but we are smartly tackling this problem.  The government of Liberia has the power to issue permit for schools to work; so what we are doing now is, we are using the power smartly  deal  with private schools.

He said their strength in dealing with private schools is   the issuance of permit to open school. They can either  accept or reject the issuance of permit to private school.

“If the school comes and say they are increasing their fees, if they can justify it, or they cannot justify it, there is nothing we can  do about it. Then we do not issue the permit. But we cannot tell a private school to charge 100 dollars, charge 200 or charge  500.  We do not do that in Liberia. There is no country that does that  and we are not going to start. What we are going to do  now is using the permit as a way of tackling that problem.”

Also he said, The government of Liberia can not tell private school how much to charge for graduation fees. Just as you cannot tell them how much to charge for fees.

(Reporting by Henrietta Tukpa, edited by Desk Editor)

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