Students Must Not be Denied Access to School Due to Unpaid Fees – Jamaica PM

Students must not be denied access to classrooms and school resources because of unpaid fees, says Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Speaking at a recent education townhall meeting at Jamaica College in St. Andrew, the Prime Minister said some public schools are charging parents “exorbitant fees which are exclusionary.”

“If we are truly serious about creating this equal society, then how can we punish a child who, by virtue of their household income, is unable to meet the school fee of the school in which the State places them?” he asked rhetorically.

Mr. Holness said students from low-income households should be able to attend school without feeling discriminated against due to their guardian’s “ability or inability to pay.”

“It so happens that there [is] a high correlation between [student] performance and household income. But if we are to break that, then we need to ensure that all our children have access to a high-quality education,” he pointed out.

For her part, Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams, noted that some schools are charging fees that are “burdensome to the majority of parents.”

“I understand those cases in which students have to pay for items such as pins and ties. But what we don’t get is a father, who works as a security guard, getting an invoice for $67,000 without any explanation as to what that goes towards; and he is told that he must pay it by Monday,” she said.

“We cannot make the Government-sponsored education so out of reach of our children,” Minister Williams stressed.

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Students Must Not be Denied Access to School Due to Unpaid Fees – Jamaica PM

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