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The Government of His Majesty provides an educational allowance of $120 per month to government personnel who send their children (up to their fourth child) to private schools.

However, with certain private schools charging between $180 and $200 in school fees a month, some parents are facing financial difficulties in paying the higher fees for their children's education.

This issue was yesterday raised by YB Awang Haji Gapor @ Hj Mohd Daud bin Karim, an appointed member representing Zone 2 - Brunei-Muara District (Villages in Mukim Serasa, Mukim Mentiri, Mukim Kota Batu, Mukim Kianggeh and Mukim-Mukim in Kg Ayer), during the morning session of the 8th Legislative Council meeting.

He also asked if the government, particularly the Ministry of Finance, plans to research on the given amount in education allowances (which has been provided over the last 20 years), considering today's development in education technology.

Responding to the questions, Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister's Office YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Haji Ibrahim explained that the education allowance provided is aimed primarily at easing the financial burden of parents whose children study at private schools.

"The allowance given is not intended to bear the full amount of the school fees charged by the school," he continued.

At the same time, the government also provides free learning facilities at every government school in the country. The quality of learning and education is in line with those provided at private schools, the minister added.

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdul Rahman reminded that the educational allowance is solely for the purpose of funding a child's school fees, which the parents should pay on time. There are, however, cases where irresponsible parents misuse the allowance, leaving school fees unpaid.

In response to the school allowance, the Minister of Education pointed out that there are currently 14 kindergartens, 26 primary schools and seven secondary schools in Bandar Seri Begawan that charge more than $125 per month.

On this note, YB Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar said it is the parents' choice as to which private school to send their children to.

But at the same time, it is their responsibility to bear the extra fees charged by the school.

- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin