Gov’t Allocates $2.7 Billion for Secondary School Tuition Programme


The Government has made some $2.7 billion available in the 2008/09 budget to fund the secondary schools tuition fee programme for the new academic year commencing in September, Education Minister, Andrew Holness has announced.
This sum, he said, represented a “massive” overall increase of 51.6 per cent over the $1.8 million for the previous year.
Making his contribution in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House on Tuesday (May 20), Mr. Holness said the increased fees ranged between 20 and 27 per cent, noting that fees paid directly to schools will move from an average of $8,000 to $10,500 per student for all students from Grades Seven to 12.
These figures, he pointed out, “are well above (the) projected inflation (rate)” and “is in keeping with our promise to support our schools with more resources.”
The Education Minister informed the House that some $440 million has been set aside for “special intervention” in high schools to be used to “support those schools that have intakes that are below a certain standard from GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test), GNAT (Grade Nine Achievement Test), and below a certain standard of performance at CXC.”
“So (for) those schools that need intervention by virtue of their performance, we have set aside $440 million to assist them to improve their performance,” he stated.
Mr. Holness used the opportunity to remind schools that auxiliary fees are not mandatory, and that “no child should be excluded from the school because of their inability to pay.”
“Where auxiliary fees represent user fees for special services provided over and above what is required by the education regulation, then, of course, the school reserves the right not to provide that service to the student. Nevertheless, we encourage schools to accommodate all students regardless of their needs,” the Minister implored.
In the same vein, he urged parents to continue contributing to the schools, pointing out that “it is a good parenting practice to contribute (to) and support your school.”

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