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General News of Wednesday, 30 December 2015


Private Elementary Education: Gov't seeks improved teachers’ welfare

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The trial phase of signing contracts with private school owners is underway.

The Government is concerned about the standards of private elementary education and the welfare of teachers.

In this light, the Ministry of Basic Education has since three years been exploring means and ways of improving productivity in private primary schools by upgrading the working conditions of teachers.

The two-year trial phase of the signing of contracts with private school owners began last year. At the end of the process next year, an evaluation will be carried out to know what it will take for the government to assist some elementary schools.

Meeting at the Yaounde Conference Centre in a two-day workshop since December 28, 2015, National Secretaries and Education Secretaries discussed the administrative and pedagogic management issues in order to boost performance.

Speaking at the opening, the Minister of Basic Education, Youssouf Hadidja Alim, stressed that the contracts will boost access to education as well as improve its quality. She noted that this requires profound reforms, disclosing that government, with the support of partners, has already paid off 167 billion FCFA in subvention arrears to private schools while more funds were being sought to complete the process.

While appreciating the support of the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO and other partners in preparing contracts with owners of private primary schools, the Minister admitted that 2015 was ending with access to universal basic education still a major challenge.

Sally Mairiga, the Director of Private Education at the Ministry of Basic Education, disclosed that the focus of the contracts will be rural areas where parents are generally poor. With the advent of contracts, tuition fees in partner schools are expected to be drastically reduced, he said.

Sally Mairiga dismissed suggestions that the regular payment of subventions to all private primary schools was better than signing contracts only with some. He said after decades of paying subventions, the impact could not be determined because there were no prior terms of reference.

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