The Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) has called on the government to take steps that would address the galloping economic hardship and the attending hike in tuition and school fees across the country.
COTAE National Coordinator Anderson D. Miamen said the entity expresses grave concern about the prevailing hardship parents and students are currently facing with tuition hike.
“Government knows it is significantly difficult, specifically during these difficult economic conditions, when citizens are already battling with issues of basic needs, including accessing quality education,” Miamen said.
Mr. Miamen said the right to education cannot be over-emphasized as it is one means by which citizens can improve their intellectual well-being as well as improve their socioeconomic conditions and livelihoods.
He said it is guaranteed in both national and international instruments that governments are obligated to provide quality education for their citizens, to allow them ably participate in the development of their countries.
Mr. Miamen said the 1986 Constitution of Liberia places premium on the mass education for the Liberian people with a view to eliminate illiteracy.
He said Sustainable Development Goal four and the Liberian government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), especially Pillar One (Power to the People), emphasizes the need to provide quality, inclusive and life-long education to the public.
Mr. Miamen said if media reports and other information are anything to go by, this academic year is proving to be exceedingly difficult for parents, especially those of less economic means, to shoulder costs associated with sending their kids to school.
“School fees have skyrocketed. The Liberian dollar has depreciated greatly against the United States dollar, thus causing parents earning Liberian dollar salaries to be greatly at a disadvantage,” Mr. Miamen said.
“This situation is further compounded by the high level of unemployment and delayed payment of salaries to parents working in the public sector. The rate at which the economy is spiraling out of control is quite disturbing and requires urgent action by government,” he said.
Mr. Miamen said the situation has the propensity to overturn government’s mass education policy and thwart efforts aimed at reducing illiteracy and poverty in the country.