Kingston, Jamaica, August 12th, 2020–Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, is imploring school administrators not to increase auxiliary fees for the upcoming academic year.
Making the plea in a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (August 11), Mr. Samuda argued that the exorbitant fees being requested by some schools “are untenable”.
“As we prepare for the new school year during this time of crisis, it is extremely important that all stakeholders work collaboratively with the best interest of our students in mind,” he said.
The Minister reminded that there is a non-mandatory fee policy in place for infant, primary and secondary educational institutions, pointing out that the Education Ministry’s philosophy is that public education should be properly funded by the Government while encouraging stakeholders to make voluntary contributions.
“The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information 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,” he said.
Mr. Samuda further advised that parent contribution charges should be reasonable and reflect consideration for the challenges parents are facing due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Students should not be denied entry to schools because their parents are unable to pay. Parents must not be forced to pay any contribution or [be] made to feel as if they must pay the contribution as a requirement for registration, school access/attendance or criteria for graduation, examination slips, application to sixth form or access to any public service at a public educational institution,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that registration packages for students should not exceed $5,000 for the new school year and should outline what the package entails to justify the need for the fees.
“Items that attract a cost, such as IDs (identification), Insurance, PE (physical education) uniforms and school ties should not be included in the registration package. These should be itemised for purchase separately,” he advised.
5000 Jamaican dollars is equivalent to $33.50 in US dollars at today’s rate of exchange.