The Ministry of Education has requested local schools to desist from asking students extra money which was not agreed upon with parents.
According to a communiqué, it has come to the attention of Ministry of education (Mineduc), that “schools decide to increase fees to cover student’s insurance, teachers’ bonus, mock exams, salaries of staff who are not on school’s payroll, buying a school vehicle, water tanks, to mention but a few.”
Mineduc instructed that every school, be it public, private under government subsidy or totally private, “should decide fee increment at the start of the academic year.”
These increment, “should be recorded and agreed upon between the school and parents.”
The communiqué reads that, “the increment should be approved by the district where the school is located while the ministry should be given a copy.”
Thus Mineduc requested schools that have raised fees without following these steps, to reverse their decision.
Some parents understand well this communiqué because in a way or another, they have been victim of these excessive payments which hike the cost of education.
Others however, were presented with a very interesting example on Saturday.
A communiqué addressed to parents and students who were admitted at Lycée de Kigali (LDK) a famous secondary school in Kigali has become viral on social media and shocked the general public.
The communiqué informed students and their parents about school requirements including; payment of Rwf 115,000 of school fees first term and Rwf 20,000 for teachers’ bonus.
As if this was not enough, the communiqué added that every student should also “pay Rwf 12,000 for construction of school fence”.
All these fees are supposed to be paid on different accounts available at Bank of Kigali.
Parents have been complaining that, schools demand quite a lot to their children, at such a level that it looks like, “they are just stealing from us(parents) because they go beyond education fees and ask extra money to buy things a school should rather provide for.”
“My school has been asking us to raise money for everything; from floor wipers to hoes and even table sets to mention but a few. For example, every other term the school collects at least 800 floor wipers from students, as if they clean the whole city,” a graduate from Groupe Scolaire Officiel – Huye told KT Press.
In March 2018, a story that was published on Igihe.com featured parents who were complaining about so much fees the school – Groupe Scolaire asks them to raise.
The money that is paid every term included Rwf 6000 destined to buy the school vehicle, Rwf 20,000 for teachers’ bonus, Rwf 2000 for table set, Rwf 1500 for hair saloon, Rwf 500 for mobile phone and on top of that Rwf 5000 for manual works-cleaning, farming, to mention but a few.
The students were also required to raise church offerings, all on top of Rwf 85,000 school fees.
A student told Igihe, that unless you raise this money up to the last coin, you do not get your school report.
“We are fed up with this money we raise to pay for the school vehicle,” one student told Igihe.com.
A parent also said he could not understand why they are obliged to pay for a vehicle since 2017 and he said, “What type of a car is that?”
Father Rwirangirira Pierre Celestin, the School director defended that, “everything is decided in teachers’ – Parents’ meeting.”
On the case of the car, he said, they had agreed with parents to raise Rwf 40 million to buy a school bus – 30 seater while the school would top up.
For the rest, he said students are so irresponsible that they have to replace all the tools and equipment they damage every other term.
The problem is not just in government schools. In private schools, a parent said, schools ask for rolls of papers, and you wonder what they are meant for.
Gamariel Mbonimana, an educationist and Member of Parliament told KT Press; “The Ministry of education should come in and put a halt on these abuse.”
He said, that in some instances, “all this money is raised, but schools do not put them to good use. Example; you happen to find that teachers get nothing in terms of bonus, while parents are required to pay it every term. Others ask for money to refurbish school structures but it is never done.”
Mbonimana further said, “these small details are increasing education fees, and at some point, undermining the quality of education.”