03 Aug STATEMENT BY OPPOSITION SPOKESMEN ON EDUCATION & TRAINING
School Boards and principals in Jamaica are hard-pressed to find enough money to operate good schools. To insult them in public is the most inappropriate way to bring about cooperation.
It is the firm principle of the PNP that no student should be prevented from going to school because their parents cannot contribute money to the school.
We also recognize that the best hope for every young person is the opportunity of a quality education. This costs money. At the high school level, the real cost is much more than the $17,000 or $19,000 per year contributed by Government. The best schools spend more than $50,000 a year on each student.
The difference between this cost and what Government sends has to be raised or else the quality of education is bound to suffer.
That is why every student from early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary will likely receive a payment voucher before September morning and be expected to contribute.
Over the years many families who understand the value of education and want the best for their children have, been willing to contribute and have done so. Recently they have been led to believe that they really don’t have to because Government will provide all that is required. This has never happened. And no child has ever been kept out of school because of non-payment.
Principals who press hard for contributions are neither corrupt nor extortionate. They are trying to encourage a proper sense of priorities among parents and to raise money to pay inescapable school bills.
If Government thinks they should not do so, the remedy is simple. Just send each school all that they need to balance their budgets and improve their programs.
Do this instead of trying to bully and intimidate them and threatening to “come after them”, as if they are scammers.
A minister who defiantly abuses and defames school leaders and volunteers who serve on school boards is not worthy of his office.