Sanford School fee increment said discriminatory
June 14, 2000- The Reporter (by Tewedaj Kebede)
The parents of Sanford English School students gathered at the Imperial Hotel last Saturday to come up with solutions to their grievance concerning the mismanagement of the school administration.
What angered the parents most was the increment of the school fee by 45% for Ethiopian students and by 15% only for foreigners. The organizers of the meeting, Concerned Parents Committee, indicated that the school administration has committed lots of discrimination against the Ethiopian students, especially in terms of payment of school fees.
"The school is ours," said the Ethiopian parents. "We, Ethiopians, have contributed every single cent to the school since its establishment 50 years ago, and yet we are marginalized from whatever activities are going on at the school," they complained.
According to the committee, most Ethiopian parents do not have any saying in the decision-making of the school except for paying the rising fees. They accused the school of only filling the pockets of some administration members. They allege
that the school's mal-administration was one of the reasons behind the deterioration of the quality of education at the school.
"The school is no longer a community school, it is the property of our children and us," parents argued. Hence, they rejected the school's registration as community school by the Ministry of Education.
The parents also rejected the school administration's allegation that Ethiopian students are subsidized by foreigners. "The fact is that there is more than 1 million birr not collected from foreigners," said a parent. The increase in fee levied on parents is affecting their children's morale since parents have started sending their children to other schools, the committee indicated.
The pre-payment scheme is "almost like a blackmail," the committee said. "If you don't pay in advance, you will not have a place for your children in the coming year, the administration warns us," a parent noted. "Although we pay in advance,
we have no guarantee that our children will join the school for the coming year," he added.
The committee also claimed that the school board is an illegal body. "The members are mostly temporary staff and there isn't even one person who controls the school activity on a regular basis." According to the parents, this "encouraged
the school administrators to demand whatever they want on their terms."
The parents of the students passed a resolution at the meeting. They demanded "good governance of the administration of the school, taking serious note of the new directives issued by the Addis Ababa City Administration, which confirmed the
non-legality of the school, recalling the ultimate warning given by the Ministry of Education." They also requested the timely submission of audited financial reports and rejected the 45% increment of the fee without adequate reason. They asked
for the modification of the school's voting system in choosing the administrators, and for the recognition of the Concrned Parents Committee's rights to participate in any decision-making process that affects the interests of the students and the
Copyright MCC, 2000