Increase Grants To Basic Schools & Keep Auxiliary Fees Affordable - Holness

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 16:30

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness who oversees the education portfolio, at Tuesday’s sitting of the Standing Finance Committee, called for an increase in support for basic schools and basic school teachers and demanded that the Minister of Education ensure that auxiliary fees are not pushed beyond the reach of parents.

In noting the difficulties being experienced by schools, Mr. Holness also pointed out that when inflation and devaluation of the Jamaican dollar are factored in, there have been massive cuts to the budget of the Ministry and key aspects of its operations in real terms.  He gave examples including expenditure on maintenance of equipment and upgrading of facilities, as well as the grants provided to basic schools, primary schools and high schools.

Mr. Holness related conversations he had with basic school teachers who shared their daily difficulties in making ends meet, and asked the Minister to make stronger efforts to address their needs.  Basic schools in many cases form the cornerstone of education and supervision for communities across the entire island.  As a nation we therefore need to recognize the importance of their role.

Speaking to the plight of parents, the former Education Minister highlighted how increases to auxiliary fees will add to the pressures being experienced by men and women trying to educate their children in these harsh economic times.  He emphasized the importance of making education affordable and accessible to all, and warned that the Education Ministry cannot think only about the short term as increases in fees might see many parents making undesirable decisions about sending their children to school at all, defeating other policy aims of expanding access and increasing attendance at schools.