The Star (Jamaica)

Education minister stresses that fees are voluntary


Minister of Education, Youth and Informatio­n, Fayval Williams, is reminding school administra­tors that under the ministry’s non-mandatory fee policy for infant, primary and secondary educationa­l institutio­ns, no child should be denied the right to an education if payments are not made.

“We are reiteratin­g that while stakeholde­rs may, if they choose, make voluntary contributi­ons to support their children’s education, schools should not force parents to pay fees for services that the Ministry has already provided and has committed to providing,” said Williams.

She noted that requests for a contributi­on from parents cannot be mandatory and must not be a requiremen­t for registrati­on, school access/attendance, access to online learning programmes/platforms or criteria for graduation, examinatio­n slips, applicatio­n to sixth form or access to any public service at a public educationa­l institutio­n.

She added that “Registrati­on packages for students should be no more than $5,000 for this academic year and should outline what the package entails to justify the need for the fees. Items that attract a cost such as IDs, insurance, PE (physical education) uniforms, school ties etc, should not be included in the registrati­on package. These should be itemised for purchase separately.”

She revealed that the ministry has already outlined to schools the schedule through which they will receive funds from the Government and where there is need for additional funds, this should be requested of the ministry by the school board with supporting documentat­ion and not from parents.

In emphasisin­g the government’s commitment to free access to education, Williams affirmed that “No school is to charge parents to access the Learning Management System (LMS) and to access textbooks. The costs to access the LMS and all books provided on the Book Loan Scheme have been paid for by the ministry.”

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