Jamaica’s Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Government has a fundamental position on how education is funded. Senator Reid was speaking at the 10th anniversary of Benevolent Missions of Atlanta, an organization specializing in assisting under-served schools in both metro Atlanta and Jamaica.
“In our Charter of Rights, we have a responsibility to provide State-funded education to our youth up to the age of 18. We don’t like a structure where there are fees that impede or impair access,” the Minister said.
The Minister emphasized that a system with less fees will allow parents to give more to their schools. Senator Reid said one of the fiscal challenges faced by the Ministry is the allocation for maintenance. He pointed out that some 30 years ago; the Government began to allocate $50,000 annually for maintenance in secondary schools, with little change over the years. The Minister said he intends to change the amount this year.
Meanwhile, the Minister said he has been a student of the education system in Jamaica for a very long time and it is a system with a “colonial perspective… without understanding the developmental spectrum.”
He said that children learn at different rates and only in recent times obstacles to learning, such as autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), have been recognized as “developmental problems that children face.”
“I say this because I don’t believe we’ve explained to our society how children really learn. Some of them will take a longer time than others,” the Minister explained.