The Ministry of Education is taking action to ensure that all primary and secondary schools are adequately prepared for the start of the new school year.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Grace McLean, told a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (August 20), that the Ministry is monitoring the progress of its back-to-school plans, to ensure the readiness of all primary and secondary schools for Monday, September 1, 2014.
She pointed out that all high school accounts are now funded, with the first tranche of the tuition and maintenance grants provided, and that primary schools are also funded with their first term grants. “The per capita allocation for tuition grant at the high school level is $11,500; primary schools will receive $930 per student for regular grant, while infant schools will receive $830 per student,” she informed.
All internal tuition grants and auxiliary fees for the new academic year remain the same as last year, and schools and parents are advised that no changes should be made by the schools, unless approval has been given for specific reasons.
“Auxiliary fees are not optional, but are a part of the school fees to be borne by parents. Parents are encouraged to pay, but if they are having any challenges they should discuss it with the school administrators and to work out reasonable payment plans,” she advised.
“Students should not be disbarred from attending school because of non-payment of auxiliary fees,” Dr. McLean emphasized.
And, as the Ministry continues to provide further support for needy students and schools, for the first time the Ministry will contribute $2,000 towards auxiliary fees for each PATH student and students who are Wards of the State.
This is expected to assist secondary schools in balancing their budgets, the Chief Education Officer said.
Meanwhile, Dr. McLean informed that there was extensive capacity building as well as preparation of teachers during the summer break. Teachers have been trained in several areas, including early childhood education, numeracy, and literacy, special education, health and family life education, behavior modification as well as in the technical, vocational and science subject areas. “We think that the education system is sufficiently prepared for the new school year,” she said.
By JUDITH A. HUNTER