Fees for private schools and universities could be slashed by 20 to 30 per cent, the GDN has learned, reports Mohammed Al A’ali on GDNonline this afternoon.
This is an initial agreement reached during an urgent meeting that was held today between MPs and Education Ministry officials.
Parliament’s services committee chairman Mamdooh Al Saleh told the GDN that Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nauimi relayed the message that some private institutions had agreed to a reduction.
However, a final decision by the minister will be issued on Sunday pending further talks with schools and universities.
It comes as parents have complained about having to continue to pay full fees at a time when their children are studying at home and people are financially impacted by Covid-19.
A private school sent letters to parents early this morning announcing a 10 per cent cut for this term.
The move followed directives by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
The meeting was staged today at the National Assembly complex in Gudaibiya. Dr Al Nuaimi provided his feedback through an online link.
In the past couple of weeks, parents have launched a couple of petitions, demanding the fees be slashed since children are not attending classes but studying from home.
All classes have been suspended until further notice as part of efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19.
A BD4.3 billion economic stimulus package was launched by the government to offset the impact of Covid-19, including a waiver on electricity and water bills for all accounts as well as a legislation to withdraw money from the Unemployment Fund to pay for the wages of Bahrainis in the private sector for April, May and June.
“It is ridiculous that schools still continue to charge full fees, while 90 per cent of the parents are not willing to pay them,” committee chairman MP Mamdooh Al Saleh told the GDN.
“The offer on the table is 20 per cent to 50 per cent cuts.
“The fees include transport, trips and activities that have not been done since late February when the first Covid-19 case was announced.
“Remote education is not like actual education so the idea that students are being provided with classes online, though good, is not the real deal.”
He said some private schools had claimed that they were paying monthly wages to the expat staff.
“But for three months, they are not being charged for electricity and water, municipal and labour fees while the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry has suspended its fees, and the Finance and National Economy Ministry is not taking any monthly rent and many landlords too.
“The wages for the Bahraini staff for the next three months are being paid for by the government, so the schools should direct those savings to pay expat teachers and administration staff.”
Mr Al Saleh pointed out that efforts are underway to support the private schools through Tamkeen, adding that the BD4.3bbn package includes many initiatives.
The GDN reported yesterday that thousands of parents had signed a second online petition demanding the private schools slash fees in the current situation.
Close to 5,000 people have signed the ‘Reduce Schools Fees for Term Three in all private schools in Bahrain’ plea on change.org
The GDN also reported last Thursday that parents of students in various private and special needs schools in Bahrain had launched a petition on www.avaaz.org titled ‘Reduced School Fees during Corona Crisis!’, suggesting parents and schools each shoulder 50 per cent of the fees.
Parliament second vice-chairman Ali Al Zayed told the GDN that private schools had upset the parents instead of taking the initiative to reduce fees and earning goodwill.
“It is not parents’ faults their children are at home and private schools should slash fees by up to 50pc; consider all the savings they are making from the government and business initiatives,” he said.
- Full report in the GDN tomorrow.