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Education Ministry Releases Fee Guidelines For Public Schools

Ruel Reid

The Gleaner:The Ministry of Education has released the funding guidelines for public schools after concluding consultations with secondary school principals on the weekend.


This has effectively removed auxiliary fees for public schools and provides for an increase in subventions to some secondary schools under the Education Act and Regulations. 


Under the arrangement the government will be absorbing the costs for core operational services in high schools, while parents will continue to make contributions to school development and sports.  


The education ministry is maintaining that it is not reducing funding to schools, but providing more resources through increased subvention, maintenance, and capital works. The policy is to take effect at the start of the new school year.


Education Minister Ruel Reid says students should not be barred from school for the non-payment of fees that should be supported by taxes.


Principals and school administrators had resisted the policy when it was initially announced in March. However, following several consultations with parents, school administrators and other stakeholders, the ministry will go ahead with its implementation in the new school year.


Also, the education minister says schools are to be issued with a bulletin this week outlining the prescribed charges for pass-on to parents. He says those charges will be minimised and must first be approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information before they are levied.


The charges relate to registration packages, which the ministry is directing should be kept between J$1,000 and J$5,000.


It says students should not be prevented from being placed or be put on a register for non-payment of fees.


The education ministry has asked school board chairmen to guide administrators in the implementation of the policy. Its regional education officers will also be policing the implementation of the guidelines.