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  • The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is reminding school boards and administrators that no child should be denied access for non-payment of fees. Addressing September 23's sitting of the Senate, Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said that strong action will be taken against any school board that breaches the Ministry’s funding guidelines.
  • Mr. Reid said universal access to education is an unwavering commitment of the Government.
  • He said the State has a responsibility to ensure that “there are no barriers for youths to get a good education and get ahead in life”.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is reminding school boards and administrators that no child should be denied access for non-payment of fees. Addressing September 23’s sitting of the Senate, Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said that strong action will be taken against any school board that breaches the Ministry’s funding guidelines.

He said that while no public declarations will be made regarding misconduct of schools and boards, “if it is proven that you are breaching the guidelines, the board will be held accountable”.

He informed that discussions will be undertaken to address the breaches and if necessary, to dissolve that particular school board.

Mr. Reid said universal access to education is an unwavering commitment of the Government.

He said the State has a responsibility to ensure that “there are no barriers for youths to get a good education and get ahead in life”.

The Government has abolished auxiliary fees in secondary school and has increased funding to these institutions from $2.6 billion to $5.3 billion for the 2017/18 academic year.

Secondary schools have already received the first and second tranches of the allocation, with the third tranche to be paid before the end of the calendar year.

Senator Reid said the early disbursement of funds in June “greatly facilitated” a smooth start to the school year.

Under the funding guidelines issued on June 26 following consultations with principals, registration fees should be kept between $1,000 and $5,000.

Parents are being encouraged to make a non-obligatory contribution to schools, which should not exceed $20,000.00, inclusive of registration fee.

For those schools whose contribution is more than this amount, the specific case must be presented to the respective regional director for approval to be granted.

Meanwhile, Senator Reid informed that some 50 per cent of children in public and privately run institutions are being supported through the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

He said the provision of meals under the PATH lunch programme will be increased from three to five days per week. “Children cannot learn if they are hungry, and we want to ensure they have all the support necessary for them to achieve their full potential,” he said.

He further noted that the Government will provide breakfast and lunch free or at minimal cost to about 130,000 students at the early-childhood level.