A total of 419 students enrolled at Donna’s Elite Foundation English Grammar School at Seaside in Port Vila were sent home yesterday.
Daily Post was told the school has insufficient funds to operate thus the students have been advised not to return to school until Monday next week, as it appears there is confusion over the Government’s school subsidy.
“Two third of parents stopped paying school fees when they received information that the national government grant or subsidy covers all schools, including government as well private run schools and all classes,” school Principal and owner Mrs. Donna Tabilepo, explained to the Daily Post.
“We also had information coming through that the government grant is for both the government and the private sector schools, at the time when COVID-19 affecting the world.
“The parents took it that the government education grant for free education covered all schools and classes.
“Only one third of parents came forward with school fees anyhow, but the majority did not come forward with school fees. In addition, the statement by the Minister of Education (published last Friday) was different from what the parents had anticipated from the national government.”
She said as far as schools applying for government grant was concerned, the school also applied and followed the government’s required criteria, and then submitted the application to the authorities.
“Later when we checked on our application, we went from one government department to another as they keep on referring us to the next department and so on, and so it was confusing and delayed until now,” the frustrated principal said.
The school provides classes from Day-Care, Kindergarten and primary through to Year 7 and Year 8.
“The reason for temporary closure is simply because the two-third of parents have not paid schools fees for the last three months, anticipating that the government grant would cover all school fees and also teachers’ salaries, but it has not turned out this way, so we do not have sufficient funds to run the school just now.
“We have made it clear to the parents to come forward with school fees this week, so that we can operate again on Monday,” the determined principal said.
“We have very good teachers here and we provide high quality education combining the Vanuatu National Curriculum with the New South Wales and Queensland Curriculums in Australia. Parents whose children come here are government public servants and officials, lawyers, private sector and business people,” said Mrs. Donna Tabilepo.
She concluded by assuring parents that the issues will be sorted out this week and the school will be fully operational again as of Monday next week.
“The school will be on again on Monday next week and I wish to assure parents and the students that we are here to fulfill our role as educators of this country, especially as we approach the end of the academic year and 40 years of independence.
“Education is the key to a nation’s development and we strive to deliver that to every child attending Donna’s Elite Foundation English Grammar School,” Principal Tabilepo said.