Parents who have to line up for hours outside primary schools seeking to enroll their children has been described as outrageous and ridiculous by Education Minister Anthony Garcia.
Garcia said, "This is totally unfair to parents. Principals must stop this and put things in place to ensure forms are made available to those desirous of having their child attend the school."
The Minister advised that registration should be done during the months of February and March within regular school hours. Following the selection process, students would begin the academic year 2017/2018 from September.
Speaking on Sunday, Garcia blasted school principals who had implemented registration policies which saw parents lining up from as early as 4 am in some areas, hoping to secure a form so that they could register their child at the particular school.
He said this procedure was "dehumanising" and "disgusting."
In a press release last week, the Ministry of Education issued a warning about the practice that had developed over the years and which had led to many, if not all parents and guardians, becoming stressed and frustrated.
He said one of the causes for such occurrences was the limited number of admission forms being made available to parents by some principals. Garcia said the action had led to a certain indignity and insisted it be discontinued immediately.
In a circular memorandum to the principals of all primary schools, the Ministry directed that all admission lists be posted at the school and parents notified by May 15.
Additionally, principals have also been mandated to notify parents whose children are unsuccessful in securing a place at the school the reason(s) for their non-acceptance.
Living in the catchment area, within three kilometres of the school, is the first criterion for admission and refusal to admit is permissible only on the grounds of overcrowding.
When the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, the Ministry said priority must be given to applicants residing within the catchment area of the school, taken along with the child's age.
However, older children were ordered to be given preference in this instance.
Moreover, the Ministry said children shall be admitted to primary school not earlier than the first day of the term in which they attain their fifth birthday; and parents are also reminded that no registration fee or contribution is to be a condition for acceptance of a child into a public school.