Reid reiterates Gov't will not defund high schools
Minister of Education Ruel Reid has moved to once again clarify how the Government will proceed with its planned removal of auxiliary fees in schools.
Responding to concerns expressed on the weekend by the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (JAPSS) regarding the implementation of the new tuition-free policy for high schools, Reid reiterated that the policy will ensure that schools are fully funded.
"The Government, through the education ministry, will not defund high schools. We will ensure that schools are adequately funded in order to carry out their functions to educate the nation's children," Reid said in a statement yesterday.
"This is why we have asked each school to provide us with its individual budget in order to accurately determine the level of funding required."
Reid said contributions from parents and other stakeholders play an important role in funding developmental projects and programmes in schools and, as such, parents are asked to continue making these contributions as determined by school boards and parent-teacher associations.
But addressing a press conference in Montego Bay, St James, on Saturday, Linvern Wright, the JAPSS's public relations officer, said the Government's pronouncement could serve as a turn-off for parents who were formerly willing partners with the schools' initiatives to support their children's education.
PARENTS MAY WITHDRAW
"Many parents, having heard the pronouncement of the honourable minister, may no longer feel obliged to partner with the schools in funding their children's education," Wright had said.
"The minister's suggestion of replacing auxiliary fees with a 'contribution' may lead to parents seeing their support as unnecessary and choose to withdraw it."
Yesterday, Reid said he would lead a team from the ministry, in partnership with the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica, to dialogue with parents about their role under the new tuition-free policy.
"Following these consultations with parents, I will meet again with the leadership of the principals' associations in early June to finalise arrangements to implement the tuition-free policy," he said.