School fee hike worries parents

National 2 minutes, 58 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

PARENTS who send their children to Chung Hwa Middle School (CHMS) in the capital expressed their disappointment and concerns over the monthly school fees which will be raised by up to $100 across the board next year.

In a ‘special notice’ signed by its principal, CHMS informed parents of schoolchildren about the new rates which will be $230 per month (10 months) for kindergarten, $270 per month (10 months) for primary and $290 per month (10 months) for secondary or annual fees of $2,300, $2,700 and $2,900, respectively.

According to the CHMS website, the current fees stand at $172, $170 and $185, respectively.

The notice, which the school said “aimed at establishing and maintaining a stronger foundation for the well-rounded development of all CHMS students”, further states that the new fees will be effective as of January 1, 2016.

Francis Yong, a parent of a primary school student, said he was informed of the notice through social media. He said the school fee increase is too much for the school’s standards.

“$230 per month is ridiculous, that is too much,” he said. “It caught me off-guard and it is unfair because no other school increases fees that much.”

Corresponding improvements in the school’s quality of education and facilities will be needed for parents to see the justification of such fee hike, he said.

“I expect that we (parents) don’t have to pay for the other payments, such as air-conditioning units, electricity and others because it should be included in the fees now,” he said.

“I also expect improvements in the facilities, especially the car park by expanding it because it is undersized,” he added.

In a separate interview, Liz, mother of a kindergarten student, said she is unhappy of the issue as she didn’t receive the letter and she wasn’t informed of meeting with the parents and school.

“I have sent my daughter to the school since 2013, and I am shocked that they haven’t informed me or given me the letter; instead I was informed by other parents,” she said.

Liz, who is an entrepreneur, said the fee hike will result in financial difficulties as she believes she will struggle with the new fees.

“The only choice I have is to move my daughter to a different school, but the problem is that no other school wants to accept her now because school has started,” she said.

“It is also difficult because I want my child to focus on Chinese, and CHMS offers high quality Chinese education,” she added.

Liz explained that she is not concerned over the reason of the fee increase. She said she was worried about her daughter’s education as she is unable to pay for the increased fees.

“This is a big issue for parents with financial issues, those who are struggling because the fees are too high and we still have to pay for their school necessities.”

Meanwhile, a parent of a primary school student, who requested anonymity, said he received the letter from the school. He said he was unhappy about the fee hike as the school’s education quality does not justify it.

“Previously they increased it by $20, now, the increase is substantial,” the car salesman said.

He said the school must justify its quality through improvements.

“We expect massive improvements with these new fees, and I want them to be transparent by telling us and showing us on what the money will be spent on,” he said.

When The Brunei Times contacted the school yesterday, a school official said they will comment on the notice on a later date.

The Brunei Times