School administrators have been advised that voluntary contributions from parents and other stakeholders towards their institutions’ development will be accommodated under the Government’s proposed tuition fee policy. Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who made the disclosure, emphasized, however, that contributions sought should not be regarded as mandatory payments.
Additionally, he said the Ministry would be “strongly” encouraging parents who have the ability to make contributions, to do so in order to facilitate the “enhancement of your schools.”
Senator Reid was speaking at a press briefing following consultations on the new tuition fee policy with high school board chairpersons, principals and bursars at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on Friday, May 6.
The new policy, which comes into effect at the start of the 2016/17 academic year in September, will result in the removal of auxiliary fees, which many schools currently require parents to pay for their children’s’ enrolment.
Consequent on the impending discontinuation of fee payments, the Ministry’s subvention to schools will be increased from $11,500 to $19,000.
Senator Reid suggested that, where necessary, school administrators have discussions with their Boards and Parent-Teachers Associations (PTA) to identify gaps within their institutions’ budgets and development programmes for which additional funding assistance is needed.
He further said that, where possible, parents and PTAs would be asked to lobby the support of alumni associations and corporate Jamaica.
“We want to work with each school to look at their particular funding requirements and give guidance as to what is allowable in terms of reasonable contributions,” the Minister added.
Senator Reid, again, highlighted the disparity under the current auxiliary fee structure which he said ranged from a low of $5,000 and under to as high as $47,000.
In reiterating that this was untenable, Senator Reid maintained that the Government’s plan to increase its contribution to schools will help those that are underfunded, while establishing greater equity among all institutions.
Meanwhile, President of the Association of Principals and Vice Principals, Lynton Weir, said school administrators now have a clearer understanding of the Government’s position on the funding arrangements with this new tuition fee policy.
He said administrators were pleased with the increased allowance that the Ministry will provide to schools, which he contended will enable them “to do much more.”
Mr. Weir further advised that they also welcomed the announcement that voluntary contributions, particularly from parents, would be accommodated under the new tuition fee policy.
“We will look at the needs of our schools and still continue the partnership with our parents and past students as well. I am sure that school leaders will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief in terms of moving forward as it relates to development of our schools,” Mr. Weir stated.
Sourced and first published in the Jamaica Information Services website and written by Alecia Smith-Edwards