Minister for Education Nick Kuman has expressed his disappointment over school principals and school boards who are defiant and not complying to lawful instructions not to charge any form of fees.
“What is more frustrating is that some of the schools are using these fees as a condition of enrollment and are denying the children their basic right to education.”
The Secretary issued instructions to all schools not to collect fees or worse turn students away from enrolling for classes for all forms of illegal fees -- not approved by any authority.
The Department has already paid K97 million to schools last Monday and is going to pay more than K50 million soon so school principals must budget and spend these funds according to their School Learning Improvement Plans (SLIP). There are reports that schools collect monies to refund later but this never happens.
There are perceived levels of misuse of TFF funds and very shortly, we will be sending independent auditors to schools, starting with schools in the National Capital District (NCD). All school accounts will be checked to ensure that the funds received have been properly accounted for.
In the meantime,principals of 10 secondary schools have been suspended from duties for failing to follow lawful instructions, and collected unreasonable levels of fees and unethically denying students their rights to be educated. These schools are Vanimo Secondary School, Tokarara Secondary School, Kilakila Secondary School,Gerehu Secondary School, Koiari Park Secondary School, Marianville Secondary School, Della Salle Secondary School and Jubilee Catholic Secondary School.
Heads of schools must understand that the Government of Papua New Guinea will continue to pay the TUITION fees for all school aged children from Preparatory grade to Grade 12, including students in Vocational Centres, Flexible Open and Distance Education (FODE) and Inclusive Education Resource centres. No school is to charge any school fee or project fee. Principals and Head Teachers will be held accountable if their school is charging a fee.