Budget constraints may affect auxiliary fees removal, Thwaites not surprised
The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) says it is not surprised at budget data which suggest it is unlikely that the government will remove auxiliary fees at the secondary school level come September.
In the run-up to the General Election, the Jamaica Labour Party, which has advocated for the removal of the fees, gave the impression that it would do so this September.
The budget for the secondary tuition assistance programme for this financial year has been increased by $151 million over last year's allocation to $2.8 billion.
It's estimated that it would cost the Government between $1 and $4 billion to cover the cost of removing auxiliary fees.
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Ronald Thwaites, says the development is not surprising.
He argues that it would have been difficult for the government to find the additional money.
Thwaites also says it is important that the government guard against a freeness mentality.
The government is proposing to increase the budget for the education ministry to $90.5 billion from about $87 billion allocated last year.
The youth and information portfolios have also been joined with the education ministry.
David Wilson, president of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Primary Schools, has argued that keeping the mandatory fees is a "feasible" way for schools to get additional funding that the Government cannot provide.