With schools just reopened yesterday, many of “my” children just got their list of workbooks and all sorts of fees they needed to pay to their respective schools. I had wanted to settle all matters regarding the children’s back-to-school expenses before school reopened, but many of them didn’t get their list before the last school holidays. So I could only settle the purchase of uniforms, shoes, etc but had to delay disbursing the amount needed by them to pay to the respective schools.
If only there is a standardise rate for every school, it would be much easier for me to calculate and disburse the sponsorship money to the various families. But no, from what I’ve seen so far, the fees/workbooks vary from as little as RM24 to as high as over RM220 per child. Some schools charge very minimal amount, while some schools charge all sorts of fees to their students.
Since yesterday, one by one I started getting text messages from my clients whose children are under our sponsorship programme, or at least covered by our Children Education Fund for their back-to-school expenses only.
Fuzi’s children seemed to be charged a minimal amount (about RM24). I think probably because their teachers took into consideration the fact that Fuzi is a non-working single mother. They have probably been waived from paying certain categories of fees.
Aini’s children, schooling in Ipoh, seem to have to pay the most, with the one in primary school having to pay the highest ie RM225. I guess that’s because the boy will be sitting for his UPSR this year. Aini’s eldest daughter initially had to pay about RM190, but yesterday Aini informed me that her daughter, this year in form five, got a place at the school hostel and so she needed to pay an additional RM360 for hostel fee. That should be easily covered by the sponsorship amount… otherwise last year her bus fares were RM60 per month. Now that she’s staying at the hostel, we no longer need to cover for her bus fares.
Maya had earlier on gave me a round figure of RM360 for all her children. Lebihkurang, she said. At that time she hadn’t got the list from the schools yet. I told her I wanted details for each child, and not a round total figure for all 4 of them. So today her SMS came, with fees for each child varying from RM54 to RM120. The total definitely more than RM360.
Nuri, Wani, Shila and Hana had also texted me the amount needed for their children’s fees. I also received a text message Asiah, saying that she’d be in Ipoh for her hospital appointment tomorrow and so she wanted to pass me all the receipts for her children – not just for the fees, but also for their uniforms etc. So yep, off to the hospital again tomorrow to meet her.
Just yesterday, I prepared a cheque of RM2,267 for the children's schooling needs under our sponsorship programme. Within just a day, I have to prepare another cheque of RM2,962. And another one close to RM3,000 is to be claimed under the Children Education Fund.
On average, each of these single mothers with 3 or 4 children have to come up with over RM400 per family for their children’s fees/workbooks. Add to that the amount paid for their uniforms, shoes etc bought earlier, how on earth are they going to pay without any financial assistance?
Chances are, without assistance, they’d end up postponing and postponing their payment… then the class teachers (the insensitive ones lah, there are teachers who are understanding enough) would ask the children for the fees right in front of the other students in class… then the children becomes reluctant to go to school… then they’d be branded as students with disciplinary problems. I’ve seen quite a few of such cases.
Which reminds me, I called another client yesterday. This case was referred direct to me by the nurse at the ID clinic. She texted me the client’s details last week, saying that the children needed help. So I called, and found out that the younger child, now 13, has stopped schooling. When asked why, I was told that they hadn’t paid last year’s school fees. Hmmm… didn’t pay last year’s fees and therefore can’t go to school this year? Or didn’t pay last year’s fees and therefore ashamed to go to school this year? Well, I don’t know the details yet. That will have to wait until my assessment visit next week…