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Education ministry urges schools to reduce cost of graduation packages

Published:Thursday | June 4, 2015 | 11:12 PM

The Ministry of Education continues to be swamped with complaints from parents lamenting the "exorbitant fees" that schools are charging for graduation packages.

In a release Wednesday, the ministry recommended that "all measures should be implemented in order to reduce the costs of graduation packages", such as allowing students to wear school uniforms in photographs instead of special attire.

According to the ministry: "Other costs associated with acquiring corsages and the renting of school gowns should not be considered if these costs are burdensome to parents."

While graduation packages may simply list a definite dollar amount for payment, other fees are included in simply preparing for the graduation package. Many women are required to wear white blouses or dresses, while men are required to wear a white dress shirt with jacket and tie. If a family does not already own these items, the cost of acquiring new clothing could prohibit some Jamaicans from accessing the graduation packages altogether.

Not a requirement

The ministry went on to remind schools and parents that "graduations are not a component of the curriculum or a compulsory requirement It is, therefore, important that fees associated with graduation are adequately discussed and agreed on at meetings of the parent-teacher associations, subject to approval by the school board".

"The Ministry of Education is again instructing all school administrators that due diligence should be ensured so that fees associated with graduation are reasonable and that they are set following adequate consultations with all stakeholders, parents in particular," the release concluded.