2 Oct 2018

Tongan MPs debate 'Eua school fees

7:34 pm on 2 October 2018

Tonga's parliamentarians are debating who should pay for school fees for children on the island of 'Eua.

Many properties were severely damaged during February's Cyclone Gita and local MP Tevita Lavemaau has told parliament, parents had been in financial difficulty since.

Mr Lavemaau was supported by 'Eua noble MP Lord Nuku, who said constituents had contacted him about the issue.

But Education Minister Penisimani Fifita said he had yet to receive any contact from parents on 'Eua regarding any difficulties in paying school fees.

Government Minister Mateni Tapueluelu said a subsidy to non-government schools had already been increased from $US175 per student to over $US300.

Mr Tapueluelu said the government had also already allocated over $US3 million for the subsidy in its budget but nothing had been allocated to pay for fees in the way Mr Lavemaau proposed.

The House agreed to pass a proposal on to government, but according to Kaniva News, the Acting Attorney General, 'Aminiasi Kefu has told Parliament it can not decide what the government should do.

Mr Kefu said it was the legal responsibility of the Minister of Education and Cabinet to decide whether or not to charge fees.