The government of Togo has invested more than US$80 million in the education system and relinquished primary school fees. Primary school students have however started the new school year yesterday without paying enrolment fees.
Reports say that parents will be better off by US$3.70 and US$5.10 for each primary-age girl and boy, respectively, in a country where the standard monthly income is about US$33, according to the World Bank.
But while parents celebrated the savings, primary school administrators worry how they will pay for school operations that the fees had helped to fund.
‘In principle, we have nothing against doing away with fees. It is good for the parents, but we were not prepared. We count on a percentage of these fees to stock our classrooms, to finance cultural activities, fund sanitation programs and pay assistants.’ Yao Vincent Nouchet, director of a primary school in Kangnicope and secretary general of the National Union of Primary School Educators, said.
According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Togo, while 78 percent of Togo’s children are enrolled in primary school, girls’ enrolment has always significantly lagged behind boys, reaching at most 35 percent but at least this policy may help increase enrolment for girls.