1 Feb 2011

Fiji Teachers Union wants study of actual cost of educating a child

2:50 pm on 1 February 2011

Efforts to enforce primary school fee levels in Fiji have lead one union to call for an assessment of how much it actually costs to educate a child.

The interim Education Minister, Filipe Bole, has reminded primary schools that unless they have approval, they are only allowed to charge US$5.40 in fees annually.

Mr Bole said he had received a number of complaints from parents who said school management were preventing children from attending if they had not paid fees.

The General Secretary of the Teacher's Union, Agni Deo Singh, says the state provides just over sixteen US dollars per child for facilities and equipment, but this hasn't changed for a number of years:

"The Ministry should carry out an exercise and actually determine the actual cost of educating children in primary schools and that should be done for the different grades and once the cost has been determined, then the next step would be to see how that cost can be met."

Agni Deo Singh says if schools are deprived of the funding they need it could affect the standard of education they're able to provide.

The interim Minister has said if any school charges extra fees without permission, the administration will withdraw the government contribution.