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Mixed reactions after gov’t decision on private school fees

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jun 20,2018 - Last updated at Jun 20,2018

AMMAN — Parents of students and teachers at private schools commended the government’s decision to regulate tuition fees and salaries of teachers.

Meanwhile, owners of schools demanded that the decision takes into account taxes and operational costs.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announced that the government will issue a by-law to regulate the sector by controlling and governing any increase in fees by private schools.

The by-law, which the government is working on, will also make it obligatory for all private schools to pay teachers’ salaries through their bank accounts.

Hussam Maghayreh, a parent of a student, praised the decision, saying it will “rationalise” the tuition fees.

“For many parents, fees differ from a school to another with no difference in quality of teaching or provided services,” Maghayreh claimed, echoing the remarks of Munir Qadiri, another parent, who told The Jordan Times “there are no clear criteria for quality and services versus fees”.

Qadiri said the by-law must be based on the fact that people do not send their children to private schools by choice. “We have to go to private schools as the public ones lack many services such as transportation or waiting halls for students whose parents have work,” Qadiri said.

This means that private schools are “a must”, even for low-income families who want decent education for their children, he continued.

For Manal Isoud, a private school principal, the government should take into consideration the fact that many schools are struggling with acquiring overdue-fees from parents, in addition to the burdens of taxes and operational costs. 

“I have some parents who did not pay for three consecutive years,” the principal claimed, adding that the decision must also consider variations in services and quality of education, which “reflect on cost”.

Regarding Razzaz’s announcement that the by-law will make it obligatory for all private schools to pay teachers’ salaries through bank accounts, teachers voiced hope that this will put an end to owners’ control of salaries.

However, sending salaries to banks is not necessarily a perfect solution, a teacher, who preferred to remain unnamed, said, explaining “some principals asked teachers to pay back the difference after having the salary deposited at the bank.”

“For example, my salary is JD130 per month and I will have to pay him back JD90 or quit my job,” she concluded.

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