By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
Minister of Education Patrick Faber this week called on parents to be vigilant about the cost of school fees and make reports to the Ministry in cases where schools may be over-charging for fees.
According to Faber, each school sets its own fees but these fees need to be approved by the Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education. Faber said that no school receiving aid from the Ministry should be charging outrageous primary school fees.
“We are asking parents to make the reports where primary school fees are over what it was in previous years to our ministry. a Schools must be aware that raising school fees without the proper approval of the Ministry of Education is not proper according to the regulations of the education system and we want to ask that this be kept to where it should be, so that we don’t have further problems with this,” Faber said.
Faber also indicated that secondary schools must also comply by not raising their fees. Faber said he was aware of cases in Stann Creek and Toledo where this was happening.
“I am not starting a war; I am not starting a quarrel, but it cannot be fair and we cannot support you putting on additional fees,” Faber said.
Faber also noted instances where schools are requiring additional textbooks outside of those being provided by the Ministry. Faber said that if a school wants students to use additional books they should be optional but not mandatory because the Ministry has a free textbook policy and parents should not be forced to buy books, which are not on the Ministry’s textbook list.
Faber was also very critical of schools who are receiving more money through the Ministry than before and rather than investing in programs to support poor and academically challenged children, spend the money on school infrastructure. Faber urges schools to be very careful when deciding how to spend money.
“We want to make it clear that additional monies that are given under the Secondary School Finance Reform Initiative ought be use for the development of the individual students,” Faber said.