Education Ministry says screening for school admission illegal
The Ministry of Education says it is a violation of the Education Regulations of 1980 to require students to sit a screening examination before they can be considered for admission to schools.
In an advisory issued last week, Chief Education Officer, Dr Grace McLean directed school administrators to accept on a first-come, first-serve basis children who reside in proximity of the school.
The Ministry issued the advisory after receiving reports of several primary schools administering screening examinations for fees as high as $8000.
Dr McLean warned administrators to immediately desist from this practice and cease from discriminating against any student, parent or family on financial, intellectual or social grounds.
According to the Education Regulations 1980, Section 23.-2(a), No person who is eligible for admission as a student to a public educational institution shall be refused admission thereto except (a) on the ground that accommodation is not available in that institution.
"In all cases the Rights of the Child must remain at the forefront, and access and equity in the educational school system must be preserved," McLean said.
She explained that the Grade One Individual Learning Profile is the only instrument endorsed by the Ministry of Education to be administered to students at the primary level after admission to assess their readiness at the beginning of the formal learning stage.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry has advised administrators of public secondary schools not to increase auxiliary fees for the next school year, and to devise reasonable payment plans to facilitate parents in meeting their obligations to contribute towards the cost of their children’s education.
The Ministry further prohibits schools from inflating auxiliary fees by including charges for a range of goods such as Physical Education gear, epaulets, badges and lab coats.
Parents should be allowed the option of obtaining these goods from other sources.
In addition, the Ministry has directed school administrators not to require auxiliary fees from students on the PATH programme and Wards of the State, whether in Foster Care or living in a Child Care Institution.
The ministry says these students should be granted access to schools freely.
It says other arrangements are being made to provide financial support for these students.
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