Ministry disallows fundraising by teachers

Stabroek News
November 10, 2002

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Fund-raising for schools will now be the sole responsibility of participatory bodies such as Parent Teacher Associations (PTA's), school boards and school improvement committees.

This is to ensure proper accountability in the light of some justified complaints of wrongdoing on the part of teaching staff as well as to enhance community participation, Minister of Education Dr Henry Jeffrey announced at a press conference yesterday.

Jeffrey said that the numerous complaints of financial involvement and wrongdoing by teaching staff worked against the efforts of the Ministry to improve education delivery by enhancing school management and community participation. And although he said investigations had revealed that the vast majority of complaints were unfounded, some were indeed justified.

Jeffrey cited the order by the Ministry in 2000 that contingency fees or any other payments should not be prerequisites for pupil registration. He noted that there were still cases where this and other demands for payment continued.

The improvement of management at the level of the school is an important objective of the Ministry and this requires the provision of better management training as well as administrative, community and technological support for school managers, he stated.

He predicted that because of the new initiative there would be a closer relationship between the parents, the communities and their respective schools along with a greater focus on the needs of the children.

Jeffrey also suggested that teachers would be less burdened by fund-raising tasks and would be free from complaints by parents about the handling of funds.

In this regard a circular was issued by Chief Education Officer Ed Caesar directing head teachers to allow their respective participatory bodies to be responsible for the organisation, receipt and accountability of any fees or contributions to schools.

These, Jeffrey said, include the sale of such items as badges, books, clothing, as well as canteen management and all other fund-raising, which the ministry recognised as an important element of the school system.

Meanwhile head teachers would still be responsible for monies allocated by way of the national budgetary process. And where a school does not have a participatory arrangement, heads, and local and regional officers must form one. Written permission from the regional education officer is required if a school needs to act otherwise.

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