Battle over school fees
Minister of Education Carlos Amarante Baret has called on Parents’ Associations at the country’s private schools not to sit back and accept tuition increases. He stated that in order for any school fee hikes to be legal, they had to be approved by the school’s Parents Association as well as the ministry. He added that through the Educational Centers Accreditation Department, the Ministry is the final arbiter on tuition at private schools. He told reporters from El Nuevo Diario and other newspapers that he would hold a meeting with representatives from private school Parents’ Associations on 21 May. Amarante Baret also referred to a ministry document called “The Ministry of Education’s position on the announced increases in tuition in private schools”. The main points of the document include: No parent is obliged to accept a tuition increase that has not been approved by the Ministry of Education. This statement is followed by three conditions: Signed letter from the Parents’ Association specifying the date of the meeting when the increase was agreed; a complete description of the size and coverage of the school, and a balance sheet of the school showing income and expenses for the previous year.
The Association of Private Educational Institutions (Ainep) says it is not surprised at the reaction of the Minister of Education who they said was trying to pitch the people against the private schools. Minister of Education Amarante Baret said that the parents should “stand up and fight” against tuition increases. Ainep said that in reality they are the ones who should “stand up and fight” since they seem to be the only sort of enterprise that apparently does not have the right to readjust their costs (tuition) as if they were immune to inflation and as if their employees did not have the right to aspire to better salaries. In a letter sent to the editor of El Caribe, Ainep president Rafael H Rodriguez stressed the superiority of the private schools and he said that the ministry should be grateful for their quality. Claiming that the ministry is discriminating against private schools, the letter says that they are forced to comply with regulations that were drawn up “behind our backs” and without listening to their opinions, although the regulations say that they were consulted.
The strongly worded document sent to the newspaper said that they were questioning whether the ministry was trying to eliminate the private schools in order to build another 10,000 classrooms that the increased demand would require, “but they would never compete with us in quality, because we do not act under political principles, but under professional criteria.” Ainep mentioned a study conducted several years ago that found that the cost per student in the public system was more expensive than in most of the private schools.
Category: DR News |