Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Rogue schools - Legislators accuse administrators of sneaking in fees through the back door

Published:Wednesday | August 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor
Warmington
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Members of Parliament's Constituency Development Fund Committee yesterday blasted school administrators who continued to demand the payment of auxiliary fees before students are admitted.

During a special sitting of the CDF committee yesterday chairman, Everald Warmington, noted the number of projects submitted by Members of Parliament for additional funding for educational assistance and charged that the majority related to assistance with paying auxiliary fees for students going to high schools.

"Before now, I used to resist giving any assistance for auxiliary fees, but you have to consider the amount that is being charged by some of these schools, up to $30,000. But at the same time the Government already pays the school fee. So, I can't help but to assist in that area which I have always refused to do," said Warmington.

"Some of the school administrators are unreasonable and dishonest and ... they are sneaking the school fees through the back door. They are collecting the school fee twice because the cost they are putting on the students is no longer an auxiliary fee it is a school fee," reasoned Warmington.

With support from committee members Denise Daley and Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Warmington charged that some schools were withholding external examination results from students if the fees were not paid.

He said that even when schools were reminded that the auxiliary fee was a voluntary contribution, administrators insisted that they would not register the students until the fee was paid.

That was underscored by Daley, who added: "There are a number of students who are ignorant to the fact, and some don't want to face the embarrassment. They will tell you ... I am not going because the schools refuse to give the students the packages if the fee is not paid. It is something that the ministry and the minister of education must speak out against."

Committee member Floyd Green, who is also state minister in the education ministry urged fellow MPs to report these rogue schools.

"It is very important that once these issues arise, we don't just leave them, that the ministry is contacted in relation to specific schools, because the policy is clear that no student should be turned back because they can't afford to pay and that is non-negotiable," said Green.

"Raise it with the ministry or the regional officer, because the ministry has to continue policing the system," added Green, as he declared that the schools had no power to withhold the results of external examinations.

"We have encouraged parents who can afford to contribute, but [for] those who cannot, we don't want them to feel less than. As such it is important that their children be allowed to register and to access school," declared Green.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com