The Ministry of Education says private schools have no autonomy over school fees charges, but school management can always meet and negotiate with Parent Teachers’ Associations (PTA), the organ that works with the education ministry to ensure the quality of education deliverance in schools.
As the academic year reopens, some private schools have demanded autonomy over school charges, but they were criticised to decide without involving PTAs.
According to the education sector policy for 2017-2018, all schools shall involve parents and communities including elected people responsible for education and Parents/Teachers Associations (PTAs) in the management of the schools that serve them.
The policy further suggests that PTAs shall undertake evaluation in every school on the achievement of government standards and report results to concerned authorities and the general public.
“The management of policy, information, finances, and human resources across the system will be improved to ensure efficient and effective education delivery. At the school level, this will be reflected in an increased number of primary and secondary schools with functional PTAs,” the education policy from the ministry of education reads.
The policy also reads that “Headteachers are fundamental to effective school leadership and management, and therefore ensuring the quality of education and efficiency with which it is delivered. This management role is actively supported by Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) who receive training in school management.”
Since the announcement to reopen schools last month, some parents reportedly started getting letters from schools informing them that school fees for the second term were increased and other requirements, the issue that parents defined as ‘unnecessarily increasing fees without PTA consent’.
The private school owners responded saying that they increased school fees for the second term due to reported price hikes for food commodities, the issue that has created a stiff disagreement between parents and school management.
“The ministry of education has not refused private schools to increase school fees under understandable circumstances. They should sit with PTAs and negotiate on these changes, but not getting decisions alone,” Anatole Nsengumukiza, Ministry of education legal advisor said.
“We have the mandate of working with PTA to make sure that there is quality education. Every school, whether private, government-aided, or public should have the parents’ association that works with the school management on issues including deciding schools charges. Nsengumukiza added that“Private schools should get it clear, they have no autonomy over school fees hikes they should work with parents to negotiate it.”
The chairman of the association of private schools in Rwanda, Jean Marie Vianney Usengumuremyi said that the schools should comply with this.
“Some schools adhered to this principle of sitting with parents, but we have heard more complaints about increasing school fees without teacher’s consent, it is not right. Two weeks after students starting studies, several meetings will be conducted between parents and school management in private schools to negotiate these fees.”