The Ministry of Education has advised that the provision of funds to all schools has been completed, for the start of the new school year in September.
Acting Chief Education Officer in the Ministry, Clement Radcliffe, informed JIS News at a ‘Think Tank’ last week, that the financing of schools is one of the most critical issues that must be dealt with, and the Ministry of Education supports this process, primarily through the provision of fees and grants to schools islandwide.
“We have been able to provide our high schools with a total of $1.384 billion, in terms of tuition fees, and maintenance grants. The tuition payment to our schools is based on a per capita grant of $11,500, while primary schools will receive $930, and infant schools, $830 per capita,” he noted.
Mr. Radcliffe pointed out that the financing of schools will also be done through auxiliary fees, which are contributed by parents, and should be paid before the start of the school year.
He told JIS News that the auxiliary fees consist of two main components – the maintenance, repair and financing of technical areas, such as Information Technology and Science, and personal expenses, which involve goods and services.
"I would like to make it clear that auxiliary fees are not optional, they are a requirement. The payment of these fees is a critical component to the financing of our schools. While students will not be penalised if the fees are not paid, I am strongly advocating that parents should make arrangements to meet with the schools, and agree on a payment plan, if they are not able to pay the full cost up front,” the Chief Education Officer said.
He emphasised that students who are on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) should be exempted from the additional burden of paying auxiliary fees.
Mr. Radcliffe informed that there are some schools with up to 40 per cent of their enrollment being PATH beneficiaries, and the Ministry is working with these institutions to accommodate such students.
“The Ministry is also working to identify a separate fund to help these schools with at least $2,000 per capita, to offset losses encountered, due to the absence of auxiliary fees,” he said.
Mr. Radcliffe said that the Ministry is working assiduously to ensure that schools are funded effectively, to meet the needs of the nation’s children. He is also urging parents to co-operate and pay the auxiliary fees.