Letters to the Editor

Removing auxiliary fees impractical from get-go

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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Dear Editor,

This issue in which our Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid accused schools of being extortionists is a serious one.

I understand that the current Administration made a ludicrous announcement that auxiliary fees were to be removed from schools at the beginning of the last academic year, in keeping with their election promise of free education leading up to the 2016 General Election.

This is one of the things woefully wrong with this country.

Over time, successive administrations have put their selfish, impractical interests first before that which makes sense for the greater good of our citizens and country at large.

To say that auxiliary fees are removed and parents are not mandated to pay these fees, but can make a contribution to the schools their children attend, is a big joke. This is Jamaica; we love that which is free. How many parents will be conscientious enough to make this contribution?

These fees play an integral role in the maintenance of the schools. Where will schools find the resources to fix a broken door when their coffers are devoid of this money?

A more feasible approach would have been levelling the playing field, whereby students from all the high schools are required to pay one standard, reasonable fee.

Goal Four in the United Nations list of Sustainable Development Goals is Quality Education, which is to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

I would love to think that our education minister would like us to meet this target with the rest of the world.

Extortion really is better defined by looking at the $8.3 million that taxpayers will have to pay for the finance minister's phone bill.

Removing the fee was a miscalculation on the part of the minister, and the Government at large, and right now I would recommend they go back to the drawing board and revise the policy as opposed to insulting schools which are merely trying to find the resources to keep their doors open.

Kimberley Thompson

Youth advocate

Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network

kimberleythompson81@yahoo.com

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