Schools hurting from non-payment of fees

SCHOOLS are reporting a significant reduction in the percentage of students who have paid fees or contributions for the Christmas term, which officially began virtually on October 5.

The school administrators shared that though schools were not physically in session, there are a number of costs that the fees are used to cover in order to keep the physical infrastructure operating at an acceptable standard.

The fees, often charged on a yearly basis, help to absorb some costs like security, student insurance, stationary, cleaning and sanitisation and information and communications technology (ICT) operations. But, the onslaught of COVID-19 had impacted the cash inflows.

Added to that, some schools reported that recent pronouncements by Education Minister Fayval Williams telling parents to use the contributory fees to purchase devices, books and data plans for education purposes, had impacted the income for schools.

At Meadowbrook High, Principal Kevin Facey said so far, excluding Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), welfare and civil servants’ students, approximately 25 per cent of students had paid the school fee in full, compared to 45 per cent who paid in academic year 2018/2019. Most of those contributions, he said, have come from the Sixth Form Programme.

Nadine Molloy, principal at Ardenne High said, while she had not worked out the percentages, they were below where they would have been with collections at this point in time.

Albert Corcho, Calabar High principal, shared that around 40 per cent of students had paid the contributions compared to a 70 per cent payment last year.

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