Education ministry threatens to sue public schools over illegal fees
South Sudan’s Ministry of General Education has threatened to sue public schools that are still imposing school fees on learners, more than a month after they were abolished.
Last month, President Salva Kiir directed relevant government ministries to ensure that primary and secondary education is free throughout the country.
Subsequently, the National Ministry of Finance announced that it will pay the first tranche of the capitation grant amounting to SSP 1 billion to public schools to facilitate the free education program.
Speaking at a press conference in Juba on Friday, Deputy Minister of General Education and Instruction Martin Tako Moi warned public school administrators who are still charging fees to stop or face the law.
“We are unfortunately surprised that there are administrators in public schools charging children even higher than expected. We are here warning those public school administrators who are doing this, they will be held accountable, and they will be arrested and taken to a competent court of law,” Tako said.
“It is a violation of our constitution, a violation of the order of the president and the policy of general education that the two levels are free. When I say free means everything; that's why we have the capitation grant to cater for all the school needs,” he added.
The deputy minister, however, noted that after the announcement of the capitation grant by the finance ministry, some counties started to create ghost schools with learners so that they can receive the capitation grant.
“After we announced this here, we were surprised that the schools have mushroomed, schools have increased, and some counties have 150 schools, and others are even more than that. Those schools are none-existing, with so many students believed to be studying in those schools. It is very unfortunate,” he lamented.
The official pointed out that they will send a team from the National Ministry of Education and Instruction to verify the schools before the capitation grants are paid to the schools.
“We are therefore declaring here that we will not transfer capitation grants to schools unless we prove that the school is existing and there are children learning in that school,” Tako said. “We are here declaring to the public that anybody creating non-existent schools and registering fictitious students, we will not pay money to those schools.”
Secondary school exams
Deputy Minister Martin Tako said they had distributed all the examination papers to the examination centres for the conduct of secondary leaving examinations across the country.
He also revealed that the marking of examination papers for the Primary Leaving Certificate is progressing well and the results will be announced soon.