dominicanewsonline.com- Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has condemned the actions of principals of secondary schools on the island who withhold students’ report cards as a result of failure to pay school fees.
Skerrit, speaking at a handing over ceremony, on Sunday, said these actions are contrary to the laws of Dominica.
“…We have to review our education system,” he said. “And let me warn the school principals in Dominica, the last time I checked, secondary education in Dominica is free, and schools have come about and they’re charging students fees. And now, they say to the students and their parents ‘If you don’t pay these fees, then you won’t get your report cards’. Well, let me say to them that this action is contrary to the laws of Dominica, and let me say to them that it is going to stop because education in Dominica is free to our children.”
The Prime Minister stated that such practices are “punitive” and will directly affect the less fortunate, who are unable to pay the imposed fees.
He advised that schools’ decisions in regards to payment must be governed by the Education Act.
“When we do these things, we’re denying children access to their property, their grades. Obviously, it is always the less fortunate who will be left behind. It has to stop, and it is going to stop,” Skerrit explained. “I have no problem with children and their parents making a contribution to the school, but when it becomes punitive, it is something else, and therefore, they must follow the Education Act, which speaks to fees and who has the authority to approve fees to be charged to students.”
He also revealed plans to publicly hold government officials directly accountable for their actions.
“I am going to start speaking openly to the people of Dominica on things I do not like that’s happening in the government system, because… one man cannot be taking everybody’s blows,” Skerrit stated.“We’re gonna place the things where they are, and who are responsible bust take action, or else I will come to the public and say it.”