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Commonwealth students' group worried by school fee hike for Jamaican sixth-formers

Published:Monday | August 10, 2015 | 8:05 AMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

The Commonwealth Students' Association is worried that many high schoolers could be denied the opportunity to qualify for tertiary-level education because of Jamaica's decision to allow tuition increases for sixth-formers.

The Education Ministry says schools with sixth-form programmes may increase their fees by seven to 20 per cent for the new academic year.

According to the Commonwealth Students' Association, schools should be "reasonable", but any increase represents added financial burden amid the current economic climate.

Jamaica's Kemoy Lindsay, the Caribbean representative for the Commonwealth association, argues that matriculation to sixth-form is essential for social mobility, adding that students cannot enter university without sixth-form qualifications.   

He says with the impending increases in the fees for sixth-formers, some students could be unable to further their education which means youth unemployment could rise above the current 30 per cent.

This is way above the global average and among the highest in the Caribbean.

READ: More expensive sixth forms are better - Molloy

At the Ardenne High School the school fee for sixth formers has been hiked by 20 per cent and principal Nadine Molloy says it is justified because well-funded sixth-form programmes tend to produce 'better results'.