There is a growing confusion among school administrations in Nimba County regarding the replacement of the county suspended Chief Education Officer (CEO). When authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE) suspended Mr. Dologbay, they did not name anyone to act, thus leaving the entire county in confusion.
The situation has ignited much more debate as to finding Mr. Dologbay’s replacement in the meantime, to address the “salary impasse.”
In most cases, when a CEO is suspended or is absent for long long time, the resident DEO acts in his stead. However, in this case, it is not clear who was designated to act in the place of the suspended CEO,” said an elderly woman.
Report reaching the Daily Observer said that the suspended CEO has designated his assistant, Stanley Tozay, to act in his place until the suspension is lifted.
Nimba School Board Chair, P. Luogon Lah, confirmed that Dologbay designated Tozay to act in place of the suspended CEO.
He said the County School Board will abide by the MOE’s suspension order until the CEO can be reinstated, but said the CEO does not have any connection to the extra fees allegedly charged by the principals in the county.
Mr. Lah explained that the Board resolved that a small amount of L$ 250 should be added to the government stipulated fees from every student to enable the County School Board to complete the ongoing guest house project in Sanniquellie.
He said the board is totally against the idea of increasing fees, when they are yearning for free and compulsory education in the country.
In the wake of government free compulsory education, he said government is still collecting fees from public schools, with the stipulation of L$1,000 for elementary, L$2,000 for Junior High, while L$3,000 for high school session, respectively.
“If you say there should be small thing added because of no chalks, it should be very small and affordable to allow parents to send their kids to school, ” he said.
Principals have been complaining that whenever fees are collected from the students and since it through mobile money, they find it difficult to get back the school’s percentage from the fees, for running the school.
Some schools are even complaining of having not received any money from the Ministry of Education as percentage of the fees collected from students, while others said, their amounts came late and in small amounts.
Critics believe that the bureaucracy was too long for the schools to collect fees and send it to Monrovia, before their share can be remitted and that, it could be the reason that schools are adding money to enable them run the school.
“The Ministry should have just informed or instructed the school authorities to deduct the percentage for administration and the balance intended for the ministry be sent,” said one Joseph Mazar a parent of a child attending public school.
The sharp increase in this year’s school fees for public schools in Nimba has denied many children from school, because their parents cannot afford to pay all the fees upfront as was demanded.
“We are building new annexes and at the same time fixing more benches for the kids to enhance the learning process from the little fees we added,” a principal, who did not want to named, said in defense of the extra collection.