February 1, 2016

Education Department halts schools from collecting Project fees

THE Education Department has instructed schools around the country not to collect any project fees from students until Cabinet discusses the matter.
Department acting secretary Dr Uke Kombra yesterday cancelled a directive he issued last week which allowed schools to collect project fees, because of the “mixed application of the project fees policy”.
“We have observed and we have also heard across the country the misapplication of the (project fee) policy,” he said.
He said a school in Port Moresby was collecting K400 to K500 in project fees.
“There are a number of schools in Lae that have also come out in the media to collect K400. One of those schools is also collecting boarding fees,” he said.
“And these all have implications on the Government’s policy to have free education under the tuition fee free (TFF) policy.
“Because of the confusion the announcement of the project fee has caused, we would like to advise all schools that the project fee policy will not be implemented until we take the submission to Cabinet which will deliberate on it. It will look at the implications on schools, implications on parents.”
The 2016 academic year begins today.
“We like to advise all schools that the announcement that we have made earlier will be deferred until the NEC has made its decision,” he said.
For parents who had already paid the project fees levied, Kombra said the schools would hold onto the fees pending the Cabinet decision.
“We will advise all the schools to hold the project fees that have been collected. Students will therefore commence with normal classes (today),” he said.
“Schools should start as normal without any hiccup. I urge the inspectors to inform all schools in their areas of the deferment of project fees.
“Also the boards of governors and boards of management are to abide and comply with the instruction.”The National