Sat | Aug 19, 2017

'Creative' schools still extracting fees - Education minister vows strong action against institutions for 'corrupt' act

Published:Thursday | August 3, 2017 | 8:00 AMLivern Barrett
Senator Ruel Reid, minister of education, youth and information, addressing a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday.

Amid reports that some public schools are still forcing parents to pay various fees, education minister Ruel Reid has described the practice as corrupt and has vowed to take strong action against the institutions involved.

As a warning shot, Reid publicly named a number of high schools he claimed have been accused of using "creative means" to force parents to pay for their children's education.

Among the schools listed yesterday were the prestigious The Queen's School, St Andrew High School for Girls, Holy Childhood, as well as Mona High and St Thomas Technical High.

"I am warning principals and boards (of directors) to get in line and become compliant, or we'll be coming after you to ensure that you are compliant with the Government's directive," the education minister said during a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

Amid complaints about the exorbitant auxiliary fees charged by some public schools for a range of services, including book rental, the Government intervened and made it a voluntary regime and insisted that students not be barred from classes because they could not pay the fees.

However, speaking during the weekly post-Cabinet press conference at Jamaica House, Reid said that it had come to the ministry's attention that some schools were finding creative ways around the policy.

"Schools are not to demand a contribution to access rental books. Schools are not to demand a contribution in order to graduate. It is a corrupt act against the policy of the Government," Reid insisted.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com