Parents of children at the playgroup, nursery and primary levels of the Mae’s Educational Institute are outraged by a maximum of 42% increase in the school fees, according to a statement they issued to the media.
The group of 172 concerned parents say they were shocked to receive notices just before school closed for Easter Holiday, indicating school fees for the Christmas Term; they claim no explanation was given until they officially wrote the school’s administrator, Stacy French.
According to the statement, fees for students at the playgroup level will be raised from $35,000 to $50,000 per term, an increase of 42%.
At the nursery level, the fees will jump from $45,000 to $60,000, an increase of 33%.
At the primary level of Grades 1 – 4, the increase is from $60,000 to $75,000; and Grade 6 from $70,000 to $80,000.
In a correspondence seen by the News Room, French advised that the increases were necessary because “our costs to do business have increased, in some cases quite substantially, over the last few years. Further, in an environment where hiring teachers who are both motivated and experienced has become a monumental task, we are at a point where we are placing an even greater focus on staff development/ empowerment.”
According to the statement the parents issued, they believe the tuition increase is too exorbitant.
“While many parents are not against a reasonable raise in the fees, we are very angry at the excessively high percentage. It may have been better to increase fees incrementally starting below 14% to cushion the effect,” the statement said.
The parents also underlined the irony of Mae’s imposing such an exorbitant increase when the school’s administration fought against the 14% education tax.
“The administration of Mae’s Schools stood with parents who were against 14% VAT on Education last year but are now adding more than double that burden to the shoulders of parents,” the statement outlined.
The parents also acknowledged that they can transfer their children to other schools but they explained their desire to highlight this act of “exploitation”.
“Yes we can move our children to other schools, whether public or private, but we wish to register our discontent and dissatisfaction with the school’s exploitative and rigid decision without any discussion or regard,” the parents said.
As such, the parents are calling for a regulatory body to be set up to oversee the operation of private schools in Guyana “since it is a highly unregulated sector with little or no consumer protection”.