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Imbert to meet with private schools on new fee

Published: 
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Principals of the Private Secondary Schools who have been lobbying for an increase in the fee currently paid per student per term by the Government will get their chance today to make a case for the increase to Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Principals of the private secondary schools told Guardian Media they were contacted by phone yesterday to attend today’s meeting which begins at 2.30 pm at the Ministry of Finance, following the weekly Cabinet meeting.

They say they are “looking forward to the meeting,” and are “optimistic,” that something positive would come out of the discussions.

Last Thursday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia took a proposal to Cabinet on the request by the Association of Private Secondary Schools for an increase in the fee from the current $1,200 to $5,700. The

Cabinet sent the matter to the Finance and General Purpose Committee of the Cabinet.

The last time the private schools got an increase in the fee paid by the government was 13 years ago in 2005 when the fee was increased from $1,000 to $1,200.

But principals say the reality is that they are unable to meet all the educational requirements with the current fee structure.

One school official told Guardian Media that the private schools need to get a commitment from the Government to increase the fee to a more “realistic figure,” from September 2018. There is also a suggestion that a timetable should be set for review of the fee structure.

The impasse between the private secondary schools and the Ministry of Education resulted in a decision by the private schools not to accept government students when this year’s SEA results were released.

Many of the schools ended the school year without receiving payments from the Ministry for the last school term.

Private schools say over the years they have been “subsidising” the cost of education to government-placed students and had passed their borrowing limits and the goodwill of those who assisted them in meeting financial commitments had all but run out.

Garcia admitted that the request for an increase in the fee was “fair,” but he said the quantum would have to be decided by Cabinet.

Any increase in the fee would have to be included in the 2018-2019 budget and will be implemented in the new school term, he previously said.

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