Cutting in the wrong places
Laura Redpath, Senior Staff Reporter
Students of The University of Technology (UTech) have expressed concern over the Government's decision to make Budget cuts to education, especially at the primary level.
Final-year business major Dahlia Dwyer told a Gleaner Forum held at the university on Friday that she did not think primary students should be affected by reduced Government spending.
The proposed cuts were revealed in the 2010-2011 Estimates of Expenditure, by Finance Minister Audley Shaw on Thursday.
The recurrent expenditure for primary level schools will see a decrease from 2009-2010's revised estimate of $22.3 billion, to an estimated $21.8 billion.
In terms of capital spending, last fiscal year's revised estimate was $116.7 million, whereas this year's estimate is $109 million.
Young and promising minds
"Those are young and promising minds. If they are marred at that early stage in terms of what they're given or the quality of education at that level, it's hard to compensate later on," Dwyer said.
However, Desmond McKenzie, of the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies, reminded forum attendees that the Government is broke.
"(The Government) is trying to facilitate each and every sector as efficiently, effectively and productively as possible," he argued.
McKenzie followed up by saying parents at the basic school and primary levels need to be more involved with their children's education.
Karen Manning-Henry, also of the education and liberal studies faculty, has been a part of the education system as a volunteer and during her teaching practical. She said there are students who are provided with the facilities to learn, but should take responsibility for their attitude to education.
"Students are being given lunch and they have technological facilities. It's not that the students aren't being financed," she said.
Nyron McLaughlin is a student in the Faculty of Sciences and Sports, and suggests that the Government places more emphasis on preparing primary and secondary students for skilled work.
"They would contribute just as much to the economy as individuals who are not in the tertiary system.
"The tertiary system is overrated at this point," he said.
The recurrent estimates ofexpenditure for 2010-2011 are as follows
development - $2.1 billion
Primary - $21.8 billion
Secondary - $21.9 billion
Tertiary - $10.3 billion
The revised estimates for 2009-2010
Primary - $22.3 billion
Secondary - $22.7 billion
Tertiary - $11.2 billion
The capital spending Budget estimates are as follows
development - $1.3 million
Primary - $109 million
Secondary - $30.4 million
The capital spending for 2009-2010
development - $12.4 million
Primary - $116.7 million
Secondary - $19.8 million