Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Parents with resources should pay for child's education - PNP

Published:Friday | September 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones
Dr Peter Phillips (second right), leader of the opposition, looks on as Ronald Thwaites (right), opposition spokesman on education, addresses the launch of the Commission on Education and Training on Wednesday. Also pictured are (from left) Heather Murray, former principal of the Hampton School; Patricia Sutherland, consultant, JMMB; and Elaine Foster-Allen, chairperson for the commission.

The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has deemed woefully inadequate the level of funding currently being pumped into education and is suggesting, among other things, that persons with the resources pay for their child's schooling.

Speaking during this week's launch of the party's Commission on Education and Training, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips stated that the country is sending out "50 per cent of each annual school-leaving cohort without any satisfactory preparation for the world of work or the world of further education".

He added: "It is from this reservoir of young people that many of the recruits into the criminal lifestyle are found. And certainly, it represents a travesty as far as the country's waste of vital human resources."

Phillips believes that in seeking to remedy this problem, asking parents and guardians who can afford to do so cannot be ruled out of the equation.

"What is apparent now is that it costs approximately $60,000 per child to provide quality education at the secondary level, and what is being provided from the Budget is somewhere in the region of $19,000," the opposition leader told The Gleaner.

"Is there more to be had from the Budget, and how would it be had? Is there a contribution to be made by civil society in the broadest sense of that concept? Or is there a contribution to be made by parents and family who can afford it? All of these have to be in the mix."




The Elaine Foster-Allen-chaired seven-member commission, dubbed Education and Training Re-Imagined, has been charged with exploring these issues, providing a platform for debate and dialogue. It should also give a consensus around an appropriate policy and funding framework for driving and sustaining the transformation and modernisation of the education and training system at every level.

One of the five main deliverables of the commission is to redefine metrics/scorecards for measuring the efficiency, performance, progress, or the quality of education.

Foster-Allen, a former head of the Shortwood Teachers' College and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, believes that "new and interesting ways" have to be explored to assess students.

The other members of the commission are Patricia Sutherland, Dr Christopher Clarke, Petrona McLeod, Gary Francis, Heather Murray, and Patrick Barrett (aka Tony Rebel), with Opposition Spokesperson on Education Ronnie Thwaites as ex officio.