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  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the maintenance grant to primary schools will be increased at the start of the new school year in September.
  • He said the move is in recognition of the “tremendous need for financial assistance” by schools across the island. He said the percentage increase will be worked out and announced to the schools soon.
  • He was delivering the keynote address to hundreds of principals, board chairmen and other education stakeholders at the opening of the annual Back-to-School Conference for regions 3, 4 and 5, held on July 23, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says the maintenance grant to primary schools will be increased at the start of the new school year in September.

He said the move is in recognition of the “tremendous need for financial assistance” by schools across the island. He said the percentage increase will be worked out and announced to the schools soon.

“I know the difficulties of balancing the budget in many of our primary schools, (therefore) we are increasing the maintenance grant for primary schools this year. It still will not be enough but we are committed to doing that because we know that you need it, but also because high entrance fees and entrance examinations to primary schools are forbidden,” Minister Thwaites noted.

He was delivering the keynote address to hundreds of principals, board chairmen and other education stakeholders at the opening of the annual Back-to-School Conference for regions 3, 4 and 5, held on July 23, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall.

The Education Minister said that while it is “reasonable” for schools to ask parents for a contribution, “it is not allowed for schools to insist that there is some school fee to get into a primary school”.

“In the secondary schools the auxiliary fees are necessary and are applicable to everyone, except the PATH (Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education)  students and even these PATH beneficiaries …can be asked to make some contribution, but no one may be prejudiced if they cannot make it,” he noted.

The Education Minister called on all stakeholders in the education system to “seek to add value to education for the good of all students.”

He said in this age of technology, all leaders, teachers and stakeholders in education “must use what is available and what can be had from other sources to enhance the teaching/learning outcome”.

“All principals, board chairmen and others have a part to play and are equally responsible for growth in the system. You are all responsible and must be adjudged and held accountable for the progress of the schools you are assigned to.  We have to stop making excuses … and can no longer remain complacent in light of the mediocrity in some of our schools and must do better with what we have,” Minister Thwaites said.

The two-day Back-to- School conference is being held under the theme: ‘Technical vocational education and training, building and sustaining a culture of innovation and creativity in education’.