OBSERVER: EDUCATION Minister Senator Ruel Reid yesterday warned that strong action will be taken against school administrators and boards that continue to breach the Government's non-mandatory fee policy.
The minister issued the warning against the background of reports that several schools were imposing obligatory fees on students despite the Government providing adequate funding, and in good time, to “cover their operations”.
In a reminder to board chairmen and principals of all public and private schools, the ministry referred to earlier bulletins regarding the funding arrangements for infant, primary, all-age and junior high schools, and policy on registration packages for the academic year 2017-2018.
According to a release from the ministry, the advisory to schools is that students should not be denied entry because of inability 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, the release continued. In addition, parents must not be forced to pay any contribution.
Senator Reid said the ministry, together with the National Parent Teacher Association of Jamaica, will continue to engage and encourage all parents to make the contribution approved by the boards, PTAs, and the ministry.
The release said that the policy includes that: Registration packages for students should range from $1,000 to $5,000 for this school year; schools must ensure that discussions are held with their Parent Teachers' Association (PTA) as it relates to the contribution amount being requested from parents for the period 2017-2018; all boards are expected to sign off on all communication to parents so that there is conformity with the education ministry's policy.
“Repeated breach in relation to the aforementioned will result in strong action against schools and relevant action against the boards of management,” Senator Reid said.