As the new academic year draws near, many parents are struggling to cover the high fees to enrol students in private schools.
The Education Ministry earlier this week confirmed that 30,000 students moved from private to public schools.
Student Rudana Tabrizi said that her brother, who is going to start fifth grade on September 1, was transferred from a private to a public school in spite of their mother’s fears concerning “the common knowledge that public schools are not as strict as private schools and have negligence”.
“My mom is moving him to reduce costs, because we pay around JD50 per month, and that’s in Irbid, which is supposed to be less than private schools in the capital,” she said, noting that the main cause was financial but also that private schools sometimes might “let a weak student pass a grade just to keep their reputation strong”.
Amjad Zaytooneh, a 36-year-old father, talked about his daughter, who is going to start school this year. He said that he discovered that to enrol her in a private school, he would need to pay JD1,000 just for fees, excluding books, uniform and transportation, all of which could add JD400, totalling JD1,400 in school expenses.
“I do not want my daughter to be in a public school. The school I went to does not even have a gate,” he said. “My salary is not enough to cover the expenses, and so I will have to enrol her in a public school and worry about her every single day,” he added.
The father said he does not understand why the fees of private schools are so high. “Some private school advertisements boldly show that the fees per year could amount to up to JD2,000 or even more sometimes. It makes one wonder how the school can be more expensive than a university education,” Zaytooneh said.
He also expressed his worries about poor infrastructure, lack of cleanliness and a lack of heating or cooling in public schools.
Umm Eyad, whose grandsons are going to start the first grade in a private school in Zarqa, said “all my children studied in public schools, which were not that good at the time and have now deteriorated even further, but they want the best for their children and are paying more than a thousand dinars just for enrolment.”
The Education Ministry said it is prepared for the new school year, announcing earlier this week that it received 17 new schools around the Kingdom, and with them 328 classrooms and science and computer labs, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.