Ministry of Education Prohibits Imposition of Fees on Students
Khartoum- Minister of Education in Khartoum State Mohammed Salih declared banning the imposition of any fees or contributions before the formation of educational councils.
Salih confirmed no fees were imposed on students by the ministry as he also confirmed that not a single educational institution has been shut down since January 1st. In the meantime he indicated the warnings issued to private schools for not complying with the directives of the ministry. In the consumer protection forum this week, he said the problem which faces the ministry now is the lack of new land plots to establish new schools, a problem the ministry has not been able to find a solution for.
He unveiled 60% of the state budget is allocated to education and health, indicating that education consumes the larger part of it. He also indicated that they are about to implement the presidential decree regarding attaching kindergartens to schools, explaining that preschool education represents 2.7%.
Salih unveiled the ministry is seeking to eliminate schools with low enrolment capacities where the number of students within a class does not exceed 35 students, especially in West Khartoum. He disclosed that the ministry has issued directives to the concerned authorities regarding the change of the military school uniform saying that it was sustained due to the circumstances for whose sake it had been imposed in the first place. He ordered the concerned authorities to commit to the specifications of the school uniform.
The Minister revealed the ministry looks to assign a file to each student this year as well as appointing a number of social and psychological researchers in every administrative unit, declaring that they do not list preschool education as mandatory condition for admittance in primary schools. He indicated that the problem that faces them now is the lack of education censorship whose percentage is 0%. He attributed the inability to organize enough activities in schools to the lack of enough space due to renting some of the school properties to commercial bodies. He declared that a number of educational institutions and 195 new classes will be inaugurated this year. He added that a decision has been made to start the education support fund whose regulations are now being formulated.
Mubarak Yahia, Secretary General of the Educational Council, confirmed the presence of insufficiency in the enrolment capacity of primary schools, explaining that its percentage does not exceed 34.3% adding that the admission percentage in grade one is 82.3%. He considered the coverage insufficient due to the presence of large numbers of students outside schools.
Yahia called for taking into consideration that education contributes to combating poverty, explaining that more than 55% of rural inhabitants survive on less than 114 Pounds a month.
Yahia said that despite the increase in GDP, spending on education did not go higher, clarifying that it represents 2.8% of the general budget and 0.8% of GDP calling for increasing government spending on education. He said that government spending on education is 0.1%, Parents' Councils 94.4%, and other entities 2.5%. He suggested the formulation of a Free-Education Strategy in primary schools and determining a date for launching it.
Mohammed Salih Haj Adam, representative of the education committee in the society, confirmed that the ministry is not committed to free education saying that it imposes fees on students indirectly. He criticized the absence of government kindergartens calling on the ministry to establish government kindergartens with low fees, and not to list preschool education as a condition for admittance.
By Haram Hashim Ali, 12/06/2012