When Lycee Antoine de Bougainville’s annual grant of Vt7,011,875 is broken down between its 746 students, one student benefits from 46 vatu per day.
It is a sad reality.
Chairman of the School Community Association Kaltuk Kaloran makes the breakdown to help parents and guardians to understand that the annual school grant from the Government is simply not enough to sustain the school.
Parents and guardians who have not paid their children’s school fees have conbrituted to the following outstandings:
• 2014 outstanding over 1 million
• 2015 over 2 million
• 2016 over 3 million
Last year the School Committee mandated the SCA to raise the necessary funds to renovate the school dining hall after Cyclone Pam. “Our problem is unwillingness by parents and guardians to support the school towards the repair of the dining hall,” the Principal says.
“At our meeting on Sunday this week we will do our best to explain to the 746 parents and guardians how much it costs us to run the school for one year,” she adds.
“This is for them to understand that the money called “grant” is not for operational expense but academic expense but even that is simply not enough to spend for one month, let alone one year”.
Principal Goretti Lunabek says expense for individual months can go as high as Vt8 million. For one year it is estimated to be between Vt70 and Vt80 million.
This is why the SCA has to make extra money to fill in the gaps. “In other words when a student uses a machine to make a print on one A4 paper, it also adds two extra expenses to it through electricity and ink,” she explains to show why it is costly to run the country’s top Francophone secondary school.
“Parents must be clear we do not make money but we have some ideas to make money and we need their support to make that money.”
The school also has plans to increase its academic programmes including teaching Chinese to enable students to speak French, English and Mandarin Chinese. “You can continue your studies in China speaking three prominent languages,” he says.
In addition, the Chairman says the school is owned by the Government and run by trustworthy professionals of Vanuatu.
“We at SCA, Principal and 74 teaching staff believe that through cooperation, we will overcome by managing our Lycee LAB successfully to equip our departing students with extra information to help them in the workplace as well as at higher institutions of learning,” he says.