The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information uses this medium to remind school administrators of the non-mandatory fee policy for Infant, Primary and Secondary Educational Institutions. The implementation of the non-mandatory fee policy which commenced in September 2016, was not to defund schools but to give schools more resources in support of subvention, special support, maintenance and capital works.
Consequently, while we encourage stakeholders to make voluntary contributions, no child should be denied the right to an education if payments are not made. Therefore, schools should not force parents to pay fees for services that the Ministry has already provided and has committed to provide. Parents are already faced with great challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Against this background of removing the burden of fee paying from parents, the MoEYI will continue to fund schools through the provision of grants of which two tranches have already been paid for this new school year and the third is due in December 2020. This is in keeping with our long-term goal of ensuring equity, access, inclusion and the provision of quality education for all. Where there is need for additional funds to ensure this is maintained, this should be requested of the Ministry by the School Board with supporting documentation and not from our parents.
Please be reminded of the following and be guided accordingly:
- It has been brought to the attention of the Ministry that some schools are charging parents to access the Learning Management System (LMS) and to access textbooks. Please be reminded that the costs to access the LMS and all books provided on the Book Loan Scheme have been paid for by the Ministry so there is no need to be charging parents for this service.
- The Ministry is already contributing to the fees of students in the Traditional Sixth Form programme through the regular grant. In addition, the roll out of the Ministry’s full Sixth Form programme through the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) allows for $80,000 to be provided for each student enrolled and completing the programme on tertiary campuses. While we have not yet made a policy for students at the Sixth Form level to make a contribution, please ensure that you utilize the resources and opportunities being provided by the Ministry and remove the burden from the students and their parents.
- The exorbitant fees being requested by some schools are untenable and school administrators are encouraged not to pursue any increase in these fees or to decrease same for the 2020/2021 academic year.
- Kindly recall that schools are not allowed to increase the amount requested for parent contribution without the approval of the Ministry. As per usual, school administrators are to conduct consultations with parents to arrive at the recommended amount that parents may contribute. If the majority of the parents do not support the recommended increase in the fee structure, this should not be implemented. Where the increase is agreed with and ratified by the School Board, this should be sent with supporting details to the Ministry for approval before implementation.
- Registration package for students should be no more than $5000 for this academic year and should outline what the package entails to justify the need for the fees. Items that attract a cost such as IDs, Insurance, PE Uniforms, School Ties etc. should not be included in the registration package. These should be itemized for purchase separately.
- Students should not be denied from participating in remote/distance learning because of inability of their parents to pay the contribution. The policy is that contribution cannot be mandatory and MUST not be a requirement for registration, school access/attendance, access to online learning programmes/platforms or criteria for graduation, examination slips, and application to Sixth Form or access to any public service at a public educational institution.
- Parents must not be forced to pay any contribution or made to feel as if they must pay the contribution based on how the information is communicated verbally or in writing.
- All Boards are expected to sign-off on all communication to parents so that there is conformity with the MoEYI policy. School administrators should not deviate from the policies of the Ministry.
- The MoEYI together with the NPTAJ will continue to engage and encourage all parents to make the contribution approved by the Boards, PTAs, and MoEYI where they can afford to do so.
As we prepare for the new school year, it is extremely important that all stakeholders work collaboratively especially during this time of crisis with the best interest of our students in mind. Where there is need for further clarity concerning the foregoing, school administrators and other stakeholders should not hesitate to contact the Regional Office.