When the government introduced the free basic education, it expected enrollment to shoot up, especially in rural areas where access to education did not meet expectations.
The most urgent need was to increase the number of classrooms and other amenities needed by the increased number of students. The population knew which side their bread was buttered and pitched in, helping to construct tens of thousands of classrooms in record time.
But some potential challenges had not been reckoned with, such as the capitation grants given to schools would not be enough to go around.
First of all, it meant that schools with many students would have to operate in shifts; one group in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The extra burden put on teachers meant that schools and parents would have to come up with incentives to motivate the teachers.
Parents were expected to reasonably contribute financially to supplement the teachers’ meager salaries. But some school administrations went beyond that and exploited the parents’ contribution loopholes and introduced other charges.
The most controversial were registration and text book fees and even money to sit for exams. In many cases, the parents were worse off than before the introduction of the free basic education.
Definitely that state of affairs would not have remained under the radar forever, and it is a welcome move that the government has stepped in to streamline the way schools operate.
It is inconceivable that a child can be sent home simply because they had not paid some particular obscure fee not covered by government regulations. Government oversight should not relax but always hover over the running of school, private institutions in particular.