The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) Dr Colley Monkge told the Public Accounting Committee (PAC) that his ministry does not have any intention of introducing school fees in public schools.
Monkge wa responding to the Member of Parliament for Nata/Gweta Polson Majaga who asked him if his ministry was not considering introducing school fees in public schools so that parents may partake in their children’s education. Majaga who is a member of PAC further stated that private schools perform much better than public schools because parents ensure that their children perform well academically and therefore getting value for their money.
“Can’t you at least introduce a little school fees because currently more especially in primary schools, parents pay around P30 for development fees. They do not care if their children pass or fail because they are not paying for their education. If they can pay P200 or maybe P300 maybe they will care. Looking at the country, money is the problem. We have to therefore lobby for money in other countries when we could be introducing a little school fees that would help with the financial challenges we are facing,” he said.
He argued that teachers alone could not be blamed for poor performances of students as both parties had to play a role in ensuring
In response, Monkge said it would not be a good decision for the government to introduce school fees amongst public schools. He pointed out that leadership and teacher development was critical ingredients amongst other factors to bring quality education in their system. He emphasised that in terms of relations with the UN bodies, Botswana was committed to providing free education for all as also stipulated in the current development goals.
“The motion of school fees does not arise in this way. Parents are still paying in a way. They are paying development fees, buying school uniforms and transport. Our ministry is advocating for compulsory quality education for all,” he stated.
He further explained that in secondary schools the introduction of development levy where each child paid about P250 or more was enough. He however pointed out that there would consider using other mechanisms to ensure that various stakeholders work towards improving quality education and therefore upgrading public schools performances.