With immediate effect, all government schools are to desist from asking for contributions from parents during the registration of new students.
The mandate was given via a statement from the Education Ministry on Friday afternoon.
The Ministry said principals of government and government-assisted Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centres, primary and secondary schools have been informed that they are to desist from the practice.
“While there are no registration fees associated with public ECCE, Primary or Secondary Schools, a practice has developed, over many years, of asking parents to donate or contribute to the school at registration. Though the Ministry of Education is fully cognisant of the fact that parent contributions to school initiatives and projects are helpful, requesting donations or contributions during the registration period has had, over time, the effect of making what should be voluntary, seem mandatory. This perception effectively nullifies the policy of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, which is to offer free education to all students registered at public ECCE, Primary and Secondary Schools,” the ministry said.
The ministry’s statement added that due to the anxiety experienced by parents, and the annual concern to the national population that this practice has caused, principals have been advised that these two processes are to be delinked with immediate effect.
“As such, no school contribution is to be requested of parents at the registration of new student cohorts in Government or Government-assisted ECCE, Primary and Secondary schools,” the statement said.
It said this was reiterated to principals by the Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, on Friday via circular memorandum.
It noted that outside of the registration period, principals may, from time to time, request of parents voluntary contributions for school initiatives. “Parents that can respond fully or partially to these calls for support are encouraged to do so, however, principals are guided that no student or parent is to be discriminated against based on their ability to respond to such requests,” the statement said.