Don’t be fooled by the power-hungry
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am sick and tired of these politicians who will do just about anything to be voted in as the Government.
Recently, I heard Opposition Leader Andrew Holness repeated his intention to make education up to the secondary level "free for all students". This, I must say, is another election gimmick designed to get the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) voted in as the Government. We all know that as noble as it sounds, Jamaica just cannot afford free education at this time.
Back in 2007, the then JLP leader, Bruce Golding, pulled off the same trick when he promised to remove the user fees from hospitals and health centres when his party became the Government. The people fell for it, voted them in, and, as promised, he removed the user fees, and now these institutions are feeling the effects of overcrowding, inadequate staffing, and little or no equipment.
At present, the Government struggles to adequately fund the schools under its care. The education ministry allocates money to the schools under its care to take care of some operational costs. Where there is a shortfall, this is covered by the charging of "school fees" and "auxiliary fees", paid by each student. In some cases, when parents are unable to pay these fees, students are sent home or not allowed to take part in graduating ceremonies.
With our struggling economy, has the Opposition come up with an estimate of what the cost would be to the already strained budget, or where the additional funding would come from? What will happen if the Government cannot find the money to offset the cost to the schools? Parents might not pay "school fees" but will surely be asked to pay more in "auxiliary fees" .
Let us not be fooled again by those hungry for power. Our country is currently in a rebuilding process and cannot afford this luxury at this time. Just as we do in our families every day, we prioritise.