Panic time for some parents

George Pantophlet


It is panic time for some parents as we are one week away from the reopening of the school year 2023/2024. I want to specifically point out single parents since they are the ones that are seriously affected. Most of not many earn the minimum wage and what they have to deal with are school fees, school uniforms and school books. And for a single parent with more than one child it can be a nightmare.

The school fees can be in the area of $500 per child and add to this amount uniforms and schoolbooks. As far as I know when it comes to the school fees or and school material everything has to be paid before the child or children are allowed to attend school. To add insult to injury from what I understood is that some of the books are falling apart. It would be interesting to find out how relevant these books are, however be it as it may no child will be able to attend school if everything is not paid.

In this case compulsory education apparently means nothing. Now we can understand that the school boards or the schools have their expenses to cover. But don’t they receive subsidies from the government in accordance with the Subsidy Regulation? What I understood is that the calculations are based on an established amount that is given per child, in other words there is a quota.

For example, 100 guilders per child per month. 100 children x 100 guilders amounts to 10 thousand guilders per month. It appears that this amount is not sufficient, and for this reason the school boards are allowed to charge parents a fee to compensate for those costs. I know that the school boards have to present an annual report to the government detailing how the funds were spent. What I do not know is whether they are being paid based on an outdated Subsidy Regulation.

This will mean that the Subsidy Regulation has to be amended to reflect or offset the increased costs that have occurred over the years. In accordance with article 18.1 of the Constitution, the government is responsible for the promotion of their right to education and so on. Maybe the school boards should sit down with the government/minister of Education and come up with a solution. Costs of materials have increased substantially and it is difficult to keep pace with such.

But I believe this matter should be addressed soonest. We cannot afford to have children not attending school because their parents cannot afford to pay their school fees or purchase the needed school materials. I believe some years ago discussions were held in Parliament as to whether the government should be responsible for these fees. It will definitely be an expensive undertaking.

For me the matter of debt cancellation to free up the necessary funds which the government can put to good use is becoming more and more important. Panic time for some parents.