Students should NOT be denied the ‘Right’ to participate in school-based activities, owing to non-payment of fees or non-submission of supplies.
It is important, and is therefore a right, that children be given every opportunity to participate in school based activities, National Assessments, and Regional Examinations.
The Ministry of Education would like to take this opportunity to make you aware that measures were put in place to ensure that children are provided with the best learning experience and that efforts are being made to ensure all stakeholders are well informed.
We have received numerous complaints from parents regarding the amount of money requested by teachers and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) for various school-based activities and for various supplies. Specifically, the cost of graduation exercise has been excessive for many pupils and students. Additionally, parents are been requested from time to time, to supply schools with toilet paper, soap, hand towels, paper for printing exams, inter alia.
The Ministry of Education would like to inform that we have issued circulars to all schools via the Regional Departments of Education with specific guidelines:
(1) Guidelines in Relation to requesting Funds for Graduation
- The amount of the parental contribution for any graduation exercise should not exceed three thousand dollars ($3,000). Please note that said contribution asked for CAN be LOWER than three thousand dollars ($3000);
- Students should be encouraged to wear their respective uniforms to graduation;
- No student should be required to rent or purchase caps and gowns for graduation—such costs, where necessary, should be borne by the school;
- In addition, students should not be prevented from school-based graduation activities because of non-payment of fees.
(2) Guidelines in relation to the acquisition non-budgetary of Funds and Donations
- No Headteacher, member of the staff or the PTA, is authorized to charge parents specific sums for Tests or End-of-Term examination papers. Such funds can be raised through various fundraising activities, for example, cake sales, fairs, and so on. But, should not be directly solicited from parents.
- No Headteacher or member of staff is authorized to request parents to supply schools with toilet tissue, soap, paper for printing, inter alia.
- Donations to school, whether cash or kind, must be entirely voluntary, and given without condition. Such donations must be entered in the school’s inventory or stock book, whichever is appropriate as stipulated by financial regulations.
- The Heads of Departments of Education must be informed, within seven (7) working days, of the donations received.
The Ministry warns that if Head teachers are indulging in acts that contravene these guidelines they will stand before the “Disciplinary Committee’ of the Teaching Service Commission. Similarly, if an Education Officer condones such illegal behavior they too will stand before the Public Service Commission.
Parents and or community members are encouraged to call any of the hotline numbers provided below if they have been required to pay more than recommended by the Ministry. The hotline numbers are as follows: 223-7891, 623-0550, 623-4010.