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MBABANE – Schools are now at liberty to charge top up fees following government’s approval of 12 circulars in the Ministry of Education and Training.

The Ministry of Education and Training has approved that schools may charge additional educational fees over and above the Free Primary Education (FPE) grant and Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) grant.
The signing and endorsing of the circulars brings to an end the impasse that seems to have existed between the ministry and school administrators. The circulars are bringing uniformity to the schools regulations countrywide.

Through Circular No. 6 of 2017, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Educcation  Pat Muir informed all head teachers, regional educational officers, school grantees, chairpersons of school committees and the executive secretary of the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) of the withdrawal of Circular No. 17 of 2013, titled ‘suspension’.

He advised all primary schools, with effect from the January 2017 school calendar year to forward applications for charging additional fees over and above the stipulated free primary education.
“All schools shall seek approval of the minister of Education and Training to charge additional fees over and above FPE grant approved by the government,” the circular reads in part.

Given that the application process may take longer than anticipated, the primary schools were informed that they are to submit their proposal a year in advance to allow for the process to be completed before the beginning of the school year.

The circular, which Muir is signatory to, further stated that all primary schools applying to charge additional fees to the ones stipulated by the FPE Act of 2010 should adhere to a number of conditions.
The schools applying for additional fees shall submit their application to the minister of Education and Training through the respective regional education officers.

“Application for charging additional fees should be supported by school committee minutes approving the need to undertake such a project requiring additional funding,” reads the circular in part.
It further stipulates that the primary school applying for the additional payment should state the project for which the fees shall be used and should it be a construction project; the request should be accompanied by a Bill of Quantities.
Furthermore, a project pursued by a primary school should be spread over three years instead of making education expensive for one group of learners.

Also, the Ministry of Education and Training shall publicise the school’s request to ensure that all concerned, at school level, are made aware that the school intends to take such a project.

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