Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Setting the record straight on student transfers

Published:Wednesday | March 18, 2015 | 12:00 AMByron Buckley

The Ministry of Education is puzzled by Mr C. Barrow Williams' assertion, in his article on March 15, 2015, titled 'Ronald Thwaites can't parent my child', that the minister of education is "circumventing my right (as a parent) to make decisions in the best interest of my child". Williams further argued that: "in an attempt to curtail the 'buying' of students, my inalienable rights as a parent are to be stripped of me".

The minister has not announced any such policy. The transfer policy framework is aimed at promoting the interest of students, that is, their education. The Ministry of Education makes no apology for this. We assume that the education of children is also the priority of parents.

As responsible servants of the people, the minister and other education officials will not sit idly by and allow parents to treat their children as commodities that they exchange for economic gain.

 

what the paper says

 

We outline below, for the benefit of your readers, the salient sections of Ministry Paper No. G784/139 that Education Minister Ronald Thwaites tabled recently in Parliament:

1. 1. The transfer of a student for any reason must follow the normal procedures as determined by the Education Regulations (28). Principals of both sending and receiving schools, along with the parent, must sign consent forms before presentation to the Ministry of Education for approval of the request to transfer a student. In considering the request for transfer of a student athlete, the Ministry of Education will determine if the student's academic standard will enable him/her to cope with the curriculum of the receiving school. Before granting approval, the Ministry of Education will insist that adequate arrangements are in place to ensure the academic advancement of the student athlete in the receiving school.

2. Transfer of students between schools must not involve economic gain to the student, parent or guardian. Scholarship proceeds must approximate the cost of providing and accessing the student's education and not result in profiteering.

3.3. Students' academic advancement must not be compromised by their involvement in sports or any other co-curricular activity. Schools must comply with the current ISSA requirement that a student must attain an 80 per cent attendance record and a minimum grade of 45 per cent in four subjects during the preceding term, to be eligible to participate in an ISSA event.

Put simply, parents like Mr Williams retain the right to request a transfer of their child between public schools, but approval was always, and remains the remit of the Ministry of Education as authorised by the Education Regulations.

As Minister Thwaites pointed out in his statement to Parliament, "The ministry is not against a parent wanting to place a child in a school that has a sports co-curricular programme that can enhance his career goals (or in a school with a good music programme). However, we are insisting that this must not be done for monetary gain and to the detriment of the child's education."

- Byron Buckley is director, corporate communication at the Ministry of Education. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.