Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, has informed that all school accounts will be funded with tuition fees and maintenance grants by the second week in August, in time for the new academic year starting on September 3.
Speaking at a press briefing at Jamaica House, on July 23, Mr. Thwaites said the per-capita allocation for tuition grants remains at $11,500 for high schools, while primary schools will continue to receive a total of $930 per student for regular grant, and infant schools will receive $830 per student.
“Any school which doesn’t see their accounts credited should get in touch with our regional offices, so that we can avoid the strain which has in the past affected school enablement,” the Minister urged.
Turning to the matter of auxiliary fees, Mr. Thwaites advised parents that the payment of such fees is a necessity and not an option.
"We know how difficult it is for most parents to afford auxiliary fees, but they are absolutely necessary for the operation of schools. No high school can afford to operate only on the basis of the tuition grant that is made by the Ministry," he said.
However, he emphasised that no student should be turned away from school because of an inability to pay auxiliary fees. “School principals and authorities are instructed to admit (children whose family is not able to pay) and there is to be no discrimination and no hounding for those monies," he warned.
The Minister said school administrators should devise reasonable and non-threatening payment plans that will encourage parents to meet their school fee payment obligations.
Mr. Thwaites said the Ministry is asking teachers and principals for “reasonableness and compassion in this regard."
He reiterated that recipients of the Programme for Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) are exempted from paying auxiliary fees. He noted that there are ongoing negotiations between the Ministry of Education and the authorities of PATH, to devise a strategy that will enable the payment of auxiliary fees for PATH students.
"We are hoping that it will be possible for at least a minimum portion of the fees to be paid to every secondary school for PATH students,” he said.