Tuition Fee Free Education Policy - Parents Must Prepare For Uncertain 2017

Payment of Tuition Fee-Free funds to schools has always been an interesting issue among the key stakeholders. Schools skeptical of government's timely commitment and the decisions to pass project fees to parents to pay had been a hot topic among parents, schools and government since the policy's inception. 

The challenge to release funds on time to schools has not been addressed properly. That is why schools and boards are forced to pass fees onto parents. Nevertheless, the recent government's commitment to TFF education policy in the last 5 years (2012 - 2016) must be commended. Through thick and thin the academic year during those years have come to completion, with parents paying nothing. 

But, yet the impending problem still remains - school are not receiving TFF funds on time. This is evident in the PNG Teacher's Facebook discussion group (05.02.2017). One teacher called it a disgrace and reiterated this was the same problem all across the country. Under an hour the post got 15 Likes and a thread was forming. 



Surely lack of promptness is a disgrace. The continued delay of TFF funds payment to schools, even after the education secretary took to Post Courier's front page (31.01.2017) news shows something is not right. In hindsight it is not right to pass the blame around. It is only right to make sure schools have the funds to start each term, on day one of school year.


In fact, the TFF funds are always paid in quarterly installments every year - just before a term starts. This year 2017 is going to be challenging. Compared to the last past 5 years the government had some breathing spaces to gather funds to fund its TFF education policy. This year is the election year. Funds are going to be tight. In addition, the uncertainty of elections and formation of government after the 2017 General Elections, puts this education policy under spotlight. 

The education department must not be complacent! It has to have a contingency plan to not only complete the tuition fee-free year successfully, but also ensures parents are not fooled into paying school fees mid-year.  

The education system, going forward, has the challenge not to fool parents and sponsors. The department must now provide clear direction as far as schools fees and projects fees are concerned all throughout the election year.

The same challenge goes to parents and sponsors - save some money for you never know what's coming. 

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