Government terminates fees subsidy
September 9, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Minister of Education, Science and Technology,Dr.Minkailu Bah has told journalist that the two years school fees subsidy that the Government of Sierra Leone committed itself to pay for pupils in both primary and secondary schools came to an end last academic year, but stated that they would continue to pay fees for girls in junior secondary schools.
Dr. Bah was last week Thursday addressing journalist at his New England Ville office in Freetown.
It could be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, committed itself to pay school fees subsidy for all primary and secondary school pupils as a result of the seeming economic hardship that befell parents across the country.
“It is the President who made a commitment that his government would pay school fees subsidy for students for a period of two years. We lived up to that commitment but the grace period has ended. Parent should now pay fees for their children,” he said.
“There is a policy for this government to support the education of the girl child. For that reason, girls at the junior secondary school (JSS) level will continue to be paid for by the government. The mode of payment for girls at JSS level includes payments for all the three terms at JSS I, payment for two terms at JSS II level and only one term for girls at the JSS III level.”
The Minister however told Journalists that government would continue to pay fees for pupils in primary schools, adding that it has always been a policy to pay for them at that level.
He disclosed that school authorities who submitted their documents were verified and paid the school fees subsidy, adding that government has also paid those who submitted their returns of what they received as fees subsidy for the last academic year.
“If a school submits a wrong account number and if a school submits a personal account number, the government would not pay. That was why we called those school authorities and told them why some of those schools were not paid. The proof we have with us shows that when the bank wants to transfer the money to the school account, the names that came up were different from the account of the schools,” he disclosed.
He said the school authorities were called upon to correct the discrepancies before they were paid and those that did the correct thing had received their money.
The Minister further disclosed that this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) exams went on smoothly and that the results would soon be published.
“As a usual practice, we visited some of the centres during the exams and in some centres we had difficulties. I went to monitor in Port Loko where the Police arrested three teachers who were caught answering questions for the pupils. They have been charged to court because we want to prevent a reoccurrence of such malpractice,” he disclosed.
He said the Ministry wanted to minimize the case in which BECE pupils usually start classes during the second term of the academic year, adding that this year they would start classes during the first term which starts on Monday 12th September 2016.