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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education is in an advanced state of readiness for the start of the 2013/14 school year
  • Tuition grants as well as other fees will be lodged to school accounts by the end of this week
  • The Ministry will also be spending a total of $893 million on text books

The Ministry of Education is in an advanced state of readiness for the start of the 2013/14 school year, which begins on Monday, September 2.

Chief Education Officer, Grace McLean, says tuition grants as well as other fees that are provided by the Ministry will be lodged to school accounts by the end of this week.

“The janitorial grants have already been uploaded to the institutions’ accounts. So we expect that as of Friday (August 16), all schools will have the available funds to do the necessary preparations that would be left to be done,” Mrs. McLean said.

She was addressing a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank on Wednesday, August 14, at the Agency’s Half Way Tree Road offices in Kingston.

She pointed out that auxiliary fees are not optional and are regarded as an important aspect of the additional support that schools require to enable them to improve on the value added areas of educational activities.

Mrs. McLean, however, reiterated that students on the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) and wards of the state are exempted from paying auxiliary fees.

“(This) is except for cases where goods and services, such as physical education gear, epaulettes, badges, lab coats and so on, are included in the auxiliary fees. We are asking parents to try to see how best they are able to provide these items for their children,” she stated.

The Ministry will also be spending a total of $893 million on text books at both the primary and secondary level this year.

“Delivery has started within our schools and we expect that the delivery will be completed by August 30 so that the books can be distributed to our students for the new school year,” Mrs. McLean said.

As it relates to nutrition, the Ministry will be distributing commodities to schools starting the first week of September. The nutrition grants as well the school feeding grants for the PATH will also be uploaded into the various schools’ accounts during that period.

In terms of equipment, Mrs McLean noted that the Ministry has begun to deliver furniture to schools with the greatest need.

So far. the Ministry has procured 16,500 pieces of furniture, including desks and chairs. Wheelchair type furniture has also been procured for special need students for   primary schools.

“At the high school level, we have been discussing with our principals for funds to be utilised from their regular subventions for the procurement of furniture. Funds have been identified in most cases and, of course, that procurement takes place at the local level,” Mrs. McLean said.

She further advised that the Ministry is continuing its repair programme especially at the high school level through, support from the HEART Trust/NTA.

“Again, we are asking that our schools do as much as they possibly can as it relates to the repairs that can be done locally so that we can focus on those schools that are in absolute need of furniture,” she added.