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Parents urge implementation of private school fee regulation pledge

By Maram Kayed - Aug 15,2018 - Last updated at Aug 15,2018

AMMAN — With the new scholastic year around the corner, parents are calling on the Prime Ministry to follow through with its promise to regulate private schools' fees.

“I was so happy when I read in a newspaper that there are going to be new laws to monitor the exorbitant fees we, parents, pay for our kids in private schools,” said Tahani Abed, a mother of three, adding that “every school year causes a new financial strain on my husband and I, especially as the fees rise with each upgrade in class”.

The regulatory law was promised in June after the national campaign “Stand Up for the Teacher” demanded that female teachers in private schools get their salaries directly deposited on their bank accounts.

At the time, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said that the new by-law would control and govern any increase in fees by private schools, along with making it obligatory for all private schools to pay teachers’ salaries through bank accounts.

As both a former teacher and a mom, Abeer Batayneh told The Jordan Times “I never faced any problems with my paycheck, but I do have four kids enrolled in the school I used to work at. They used to give me an employee’s discount but, since I quit, they stopped, so I had to move my kids to a government school because I can’t pay the fees without this aid.”

While one end of the ministry's pledge was fulfilled, as the law now ensures private school teachers receive their salaries on their bank accounts, the other, which concerns parents more than teachers, has still not come to life.

“The law is still under study, and we have committees working on it,” a source at the Ministry of Education, who preferred to remain unnamed, told The Jordan Times.

With the 2018/2019 school year looming, parents voiced hope that the law passes before. 

Calling out private schools for “taking advantage of the poor government-funded school system”, parents said they feel torn between providing their children with adequate education and facing "ridiculously high fees".

“I want the very best education for my only daughter, and that’s why I put her in a private school. It’s funny how I pay for her kindergarten class more than my parents paid for my whole school education, but I don’t have any other option,” said Jude Sharif, the mother of a four-year-old.

Parents have been urging the ministry to accelerate the process, while the source at the Ministry of Education said that “there are many things that have to be taken into consideration when drafting such a law”.

For Rajae Masoud, father of two, “the reason some parents enroll their kids in private schools even if they can’t afford it is that they are not convinced that government schools can provide the kind of education they hope for their child”.

Art, sports, literature, and the English language are not given top priority, Rajae told The Jordan Times, as his wife added: “These are things that I want my child to focus on. I fully support regulations on private schools’ fees and indeed urge it, but I believe that many parents and I will still pay the fees even if they are not reduced.”

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