More Children Attending Public Schools


With 96.9 per cent of all students accessing education from public institutions, the public school system continued to be the major provider of schooling in the country in 2002.
As stated in the recently published Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) 2002, parents were generally satisfied with the quality of schools that their children attended, while two thirds of children attending school had all their textbooks, with no difference by the type of school.
Children in poorer households were less likely to attend school everyday and the most frequent reason for their absence being financial difficulty, the survey further concluded. When the reason for absences were canvassed, it was found that 38.6 per cent of children in the lowest quintile (1) were kept home due to financial problems, while only 6.9 per cent of those in quintile 5 (the wealthiest) reported absence for that reason. Overall, 14.4 per cent of students who stopped attending school before the 11th grade did so for financial reasons.
The survey found that that there was an increase in enrolment over the review period with 96.4 per cent of children in the 3-5 age group enrolled in school compared with 91.0 per cent in 2001. Increased public awareness of the importance of education and the greater availability of places in basic schools, made possible through the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, were the main reasons for much of the increase in the enrolment at the early childhood level, the JSL deduced.
For the first time since the JSCL began in 1988, the Rural Areas recorded the highest level of enrolment for the 3-5 age groups, with 97.6 per cent involved in the education system. The Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and Other Towns recorded enrolment of 95.6 per cent and 94.4 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, almost all children in the 6-11 age groups were enrolled in school, with the data showing a 99.5 per cent enrolment in 2002 compared with 99.9 in 2001. Across consumption groups, enrolment of this age cohort ranged from 99.0 per cent among the poorest to 99.6 per cent among the wealthiest.
As a result of the Reform of Secondary Education (ROSE) programme leading to the redefinition of school types at the secondary level, the survey noted, six types of schools had been formed at that level. These are; all age, primary and junior high, junior high, secondary high, technical high and vocational and agricultural schools. About 12.6 per cent of students in rural areas were enrolled in all age schools, compared with 4.1 per cent in the KMA and 6.9 percent in other towns.
Examination by consumption groups showed 20.0 per cent of the poorest quintile enrolled in all age schools compared with 4.0 per cent of the wealthiest quintile. A similar pattern was noted for students enrolled in primary and junior high schools.
An examination of enrolment in the 17-18 age groups by geographical location showed levels of 40.3 per cent for the KMA, 40.5 per cent for students from other towns and 32.1 per cent by students from the rural areas.
Meanwhile, in the 19-24 age group, distribution by region showed that the KMA had higher levels of enrolment compared with rural areas and other towns. Enrolment in the KMA was 12.3 per cent compared with 5.4 per cent in other towns and 4.0 per cent in rural areas. The survey noted that this pattern might be related to the fact that 53.0 per cent of tertiary level institutions were located in the KMA.
In terms of spending, the general pattern of expenditure distribution was maintained across the quintiles. However, the total education expenditure of households in quintile 1 was 41.0 per cent of that spent by quintile 5. According to the survey, quintile 2 households spent 17.0 per cent of their education budget on extra lessons compared with 9.0 per cent for households in the poorest quintile and 12.0 per cent in the wealthiest quintile. Lunch and snacks remained the largest category of non-tuition school-related expenditure. For 2002 this accounted for 36.3 per cent of overall school related expenses, moving from 33.0 per cent in 2001. The mean expenditure on tuition and fees for secondary students was $6,035.7 in 2001.
“As the survey continues to monitor the performance of certain key educational variables, a more comprehensive picture of the factors that may impact on overall educational outcomes will emerge,” the report said.
Some 7,000 households participated in the survey.

JIS Social