Fiji Principals say free education in Fiji is a misnomer as it costs parents up to $3000 a year for lower secondary education resulting in a lot of dropouts.
Speaking at the Principals conference yesterday, FPA president Susau Managreve said education in Fiji should not be labelled free because “it was far from it”.
Government paid only 10% of the cost of a child’s education which in the case of a form three child come to a mere $153. The other 90% was borne by parents.
“The economics of education is no longer affordable. And you wonder why children drop out of school,” he was quoted as saying by The Fiji Times.
The cost of bus fares, school stationary, uniforms, lunches, fund raising activities and extra-curricula activities have become prohibitive. In addition, all schools now charge additional levy in the way of building, sports, library, photocopying and other fees.
However, Education Minister Ro Teimumu Kepa says government does not have the funds to increase its per child allocation to schools.
Fiji Labour Party, in its pre-Budget statement, has pleaded with government to remove VAT and Duty from basic food items and everyday household goods as well as from educational and medicinal supplies. This would go a long way in helping the poor cope with the rising cost of living.