Fundraising initiatives at schools should be voluntary- Ministry
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture last week cautioned all government schools to ensure that any fundraising initiatives introduced, are voluntary and not mandatory and should only be introduced in consultation with parents/guardians, School Boards and the school community at large.
This is part of government’s resolve to ensure that universal access to education is granted to all people and that all children are given an equal opportunity in education, regardless of their social class, gender or ethnic background.
The ministry further directed all schools that no learner should be denied progress to the next grade or continued placement at the school due to non-payment of any fee, especially since the abolishment of compulsory parental financial contributions towards the School Development Fund at both primary and secondary schools.
In 2013 and 2016, the ministry introduced the Universal Primary Education Grant and the Universal Secondary Education Grant, respectively, to subsidize the cancellation of the school development fund.
However, parents or guardians are still at liberty and thus encouraged to make voluntary financial contributions to schools of their engagement for the purpose to assist with the upkeep, maintenance and improvement of infrastructure and other amenities of schools.
“With the ever-increasing cost of education, parents are strongly urged and encouraged to assist the schools in whatever form possible in order to enable our schools to meet the education needs of the learners. This should however not be construed to mean that parents are in any way compelled to do so and as such, no school should demand payment from any parent for the placement of any learner in such schools,” the ministry noted.