Schools told to be flexible with parents

Florence Young Christian School primary school girls at school yesterday. Photo by Barnabas Manebona.
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SCHOOL registrations in Honiara and in the provinces started very slowly this week ahead of the school openings next Monday.

Many schools noticed few parents and guardians turning up to pay school fees of their children.

Unlike in the past, registration normally attracted a long queue.

One teacher told Island Sun the low turn out of parents to do registration was due to economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic last year up until now.

Furthermore, the teacher said delay of school grants from Ministry of Education and Human Resources may affect the start of classes next week.

“Schools need their grants to purchase stationaries and pay bills to start the academic year.

“Schools cannot depend entirely on fees to start the operation because of low number of fee payers,“ he said.

Island Sun understands more parents have applied for loans at different commercial banks in order to pay their children’s’ school fees.

In the meantime, Honiara City Council owned schools are advised to be flexible in charging school fees on parents and guardians this year due to the impact of coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Clement Terewauri, who is also the Chairman of Education Division issued the advice to all HCC schools ‘administration this week.

Terewauri said the council agreed for students to pay registration fee of $100 and $150 for Form 7 classes.

He said for school fees, schools ‘administration should not impose strict rules on parents and guardians to pay up quickly.

“Most parents find it really hard to get school fees because of the economic impact.

“As such, the school administrations should be flexible to students until such time the parents secure their fees, “he said.

There are about 12 Community High Schools and some private schools affiliated to HCC.

Furthermore, Anglican Church of Melanesia run schools are proposed to start on Monday next week.

Education Secretary James Memua said parents can pay fees at any time to enrol their children.

He said it normally takes two months for the ACOM schools to remove students’ names out of the enrolment lists if they don’t pay up their fees.

Memua said parents who applied for loans can pay up the school fees once they get the money.