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 non-mandatory fee policy which commenced in September 2016, is not to defund schools but to give schools more resources in support of subvention, special support, maintenance and capital works.
The Ministry’s philosophy is that public education should be properly funded by government while encouraging stakeholders to make voluntary contributions. Therefore, schools should not be forced to charge fees for services that the Ministry should be providing. Education is just too important to have any barriers to access. Parents are already funding aspects of students’ education such as, lunch, books, bus fare and other school items. It is prudent therefore, that public education be funded by taxes and not to be applied as fees at the point of access.
Against this background of removing the burden of fee paying from parents, the MoEYI will continue to fund schools through the provision of grants to be distributed in four tranches: April, June, September and December in keeping with our long term goal of ensuring equity, access for all and the provision of quality education. Where there is need for additional funds to ensure this is maintained, this should be requested by the School Board with supporting documentation.
Please be reminded of the following and be guided accordingly:
- The parent contribution charges should be reasonable and reflect consideration for the challenges our parents are facing during the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. Schools are not allowed to increase the amount requested for parent contribution without the approval of the Ministry. 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.
- Students should not be denied from entering schools because of inability of their parents to pay. The policy is that contribution cannot be mandatory and MUST not be a requirement for registration, school access/attendance 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.
- 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.
- Registration package for students should be no more than $5000 for this school 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.
- 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.
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 shold not hesitate to contact the Regional Office.