JIS News

The Ministry of Education and Youth will be spending some $1.1 billion on secondary school fees for the 2007/2008 academic year.
This announcement was made by the Minister of Education and Youth, Maxine Henry-Wilson at a press briefing to update the media on preparations for the new school year, which begins in September. The briefing was held on (July 24) at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle office in Kingston.
According to the Education Minister, the allocation will cover in full the fees for beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) as well as students who are wards of the state.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson also noted that the funds also cover 75 per cent of the school fees for the children of teachers, administrative, and ancillary staff employed in the public school system.
“We have always paid the fees for PATH beneficiaries and wards of the state as well as 75 per cent of the fees of children of teachers, administrative and ancillary staff employed in the public school system,” she reminded and “this year we will be spending some $1.1 billion on school fees for those two categories together with the 50 per cent of the endorsed fees for all other students.” Acknowledging that the issue of school fees has been the subject of considerable public discussion, the Minister stated that “it has always been, and it continues to be the policy of the Government of Jamaica that no student is to be denied registration and access to any school because of their parents’ inability to pay fees.”
However, she noted that the revenue from fees, “represents a significant part of the operational budget for schools; and non-payment of parents’ contributions creates financial difficulties for the institutions.”
As such, Minister Henry Wilson urged parents who can afford to pay, to make their contributions. “If you can afford to pay we ask you to do so because the schools need the additional resources. For those who cannot pay we will be putting in place a Fee Compliance Update Report which allows the school to report to us, students who have not paid their fees,” she noted.
The Fee Compliance Update Report will allow the schools to identify those students whose parents are to pay a contribution and at the end of September, the schools will provide the names of the students and the amount they have contributed to the regional office. The list will be submitted on a periodic basis. At the end of November the Ministry will pay the outstanding amount providing that the parents cannot afford to make the contribution.
Turning to the issue of disbursement of the funds to schools, she informed that the Ministry will disburse 50 per cent of the school’s entitlement based on the 2006/2007 enrolment as at the end of July and early August.
“We anticipate that we will be able to pay over all the school maintenance grants and the 50 percent of the school’s entitlement by early August,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson stated.

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