Disciplinary action will be taken against secondary schools who charge registration fees.
Minister of Education, Dr Tim Gopeesingh made the statement as the meet with secondary school principals and school supervisors III at the Rudranath Capildeo Learning Resource Center, McBean, Couva.
“It is untenable, it is wrong,” Gopeesingh said.
The Minister noted that he had been informed of cases, one as extreme as a parent being asked to pay up to $1,000. He appealed to senior staff to “have a heart” and not disguise these exorbitant fees as charges for “monograms, ties etc”.
Gopeesingh said the allocation available to every secondary school through their individual budget should cover the majority of costs so there is no justification for registration fees.
“There has been abuse of the system,” he noted, adding that he is well aware that all sort of disguises are being used to coax parents to spend monies they should not have to.
Gopeesingh also raised the issue of parents being asked to purchase text books.
He demanded that principals forward original book lists to his office and copied to the Chief Education Officer and schools supervisors.
Gopeesingh also asked that he be sent the same lists that parents are given by no later than July 19. He lamented circumstances where recommended textbooks were allowed to accumulate dust when students are called on to acquire additional books.
“Understand and consider the plight of the poor in this country. Principals, have a heart I beg of you,” he urged.
He noted that Government had invested up to $124 million for textbooks last year and anticipates the same figure this year. An additional $40 million may have to be spent to facilitate replacement and repairs to lost or damaged books.
Gopeesingh called on persons to report cases to the Ministry or to the Teaching Service Commission, the body he stated responsible for treating with appointments, transfers, as well as disciplining of teaching staff.