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High school fees, a barrier to free education – World Vision

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High school fees is a major barrier for many African children dropping out of school, World Vision International has observed.

It noted that African countries lacked legal guarantees of free education and had policies that charged high fees for schools compelling children from poor families to stop education.

Mr Samuel Gamlu, World Vision Area Development Programme Officer was addressing students of Queen of Peace Senior High School (SHS) from Nadowli and Saint Francis Girls SHS from Jirapa to make the African Union Day of the African Child on Wednesday at Nadwoli.

He said some countries do have constitutional guarantees of free education but the laws were not respected and implemented.

“Charging fees exclude the poorest children from formal education”, he said.

Mr Gamlu said the plight of an estimated 30 million street children across the continent needed urgent steps for them to be protected and determined strategies for providing effective child protection and care.

He noted that constitutional guarantee reflected the requirement of international human rights laws – They mandate primary education to be free and compulsory and obliged governments to ensure that it is carried immediately or progressively.

Mr Gamlu said making education free and compulsory required public funding, but governmental policies for financing did not follow the law.

He bemoaned the yearly exodus of school children during holidays to towns in the south to do menial jobs such as weeding on farms and washing of dishes at bars and restaurants.

Mr Gamlu said they did that to enable them get them to be able earn some money to pay for their fees and also to buy basic provisional needs.

It is estimated that one out of every five children in the JHS and SHS go down south for such engagements, Mr Gamlu said.

According to him, that had become a worrying phenomenon, which needed to be looked at to help children to have full access to education.

Mr Gamlu cited an accident in 2009 that claimed the lives of many children from the district who were on a holiday assignment.

He appealed to authorities of the District Assembly to establish an endowment fund to cater for needy students in the area.

Source: GNA

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