Tue | Sep 24, 2019

Schools need clear funding plan, says Thwaites

Published:Monday | August 19, 2019 | 4:09 PM
Opposition spokesperson on Education, Ronald Thwaites, at a People's National Party press conference on August 19, 2019 - Rudolph Brown photo.

Nickoy Wilson, Gleaner Writer

Opposition spokesperson on Education, Ronald Thwaites, says there needs to be a clear funding plan for schools where parents are unable to pay auxiliary fees.

“The schools cannot do without the money – the contributions that come from parental engagement. Warning principals and on occasions considering them extortionate does no justice to their need or to the quality of education everyone desires for our children,” he said.

“If the contributions by parents, which schools need, are to be abolished, then the government must now, not in the future, provide the additional money so that schools can maintain the highest levels of performance [and] offer the highest levels of education without calling upon external groups, such as parents to provide,” Thwaites continued.

He was speaking this morning at a People’s National Party press conference held at the party’s headquarters in St Andrew.

His comments came after Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Alando Terrelonge, in a statement yesterday, said changes to the funding formula for public high schools are coming in light of discord over auxiliary fees charged by schools.

The education spokesperson indicated that while he agreed with the move, he insisted that the ministry should act now, adding that funding to schools should be based on need.

“We would be glad to see that happen, but not in the future. It needs to be done now. You cannot give Haile Selassie and Eltham High and Merlene Ottey the same amount of money that Campion gets and expect that you’re going to have a similar outcome. Why not now? This country is flushed with cash,” Thwaites said.

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