Schools will be allowed to charge special fees says Reid
Schools will still be able to charge fees for sports-related projects and extra curricula activities despite a new government policy that will see a ban on auxiliary fees.
Senator Ruel Reid, the Minister of Education, told principals at a meeting at the Jamaica Conference Centre today, that schools, through discussions with parents, can ask for contribution towards special initiatives.
“The schools can still ask parents to contribute to their development plans but through parents’ contribution and not called auxiliary fees,” Reid said.
He said the ministry will have to approve how much schools can ask parents to contribute.
“The tuition fee policy is not banning the collection of funds from parents. As a matter of fact parents are being encouraged to support their schools through the PTA,” the minister further said.
Outlining what he called the facts concerning the payment of auxiliary fees, Reid said 88 per cent of all high schools charge an average auxiliary fee of $5,000.
He said that about 20 schools charge between $8,000 and $ 47,000 dollars.
The Government has said the current contribution of $11,500 that the ministry pays for each student will be increased to $19,000.
According to Reid, this 65 per cent increase will facilitate the removal of auxiliary fees.
“If these schools were to get an additional $ 7,500 per student there would be no need for auxiliary fees in the real sense,” he said.
Reid said that a significant portion of the auxiliary fees currently go towards consumables, for example, PE gear, overalls and coats, and support materials.
Reid said the Government's philosophy is that public education should be properly funded by government while encouraging stakeholders to make voluntary contributions.
"The idea of mandatory fees for access to public education must be frowned on," he said.