Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says that while the government intends to continue to provide free education at the secondary level, parents will be required to make a greater input.
“The policy of government subscribing to the basic tuition for secondary education will continue (but), there is no doubt that additional contribution is going to be required from parents, families and well-wishers in order that education may have quality attached to it,” he said.
The Education Minister was speaking at the Scotia Bank Group's 2011 long service awards held on April 20 at the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
He stated that “there is no new money for the education sector available in this budget coming up and so we are going to have to do better with what we have. We are going to have to appeal to parents to put the contribution to the child’s education before the cigarettes and the liquor and the hair piece and the nails."
He also urged schools to be more efficient in the way they operate as the Ministry is spending a lot of money on utilities, security fencing and guards.
He lamented also, that some $20 billion is being spent each year on remedial education and that money could go towards development initiatives. “What if we had that for real development rather than trying to do it again and again with indifferent successes?” he asked.
Mr. Thwaites called upon the banking sector, specifically Scotia Bank Group to assist with the building of primary and secondary schools.
“If we are going to get rid of the shift system, if we are going to have the proper ratios between teachers and pupils at the primary level, we need almost 50,000 new primary school spaces and almost 100,000 secondary new spaces. This is a daunting challenge but it is not beyond the possibility,” he said.
The Education Minister, in the meantime, congratulated the awardees and encouraged them to volunteer to become members of a school board. “We need all your experience and we need all your interest in this area of voluntary service,” he stated.
Chief Executive Officer and President of Scotia Group, Bruce Bowen, also commended the awardees for their years of service to the financial institution.
More than 40 members of staff were recognised for serving the Scotia Group for between 20 and 40 years.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter