The Darien Henry-led Cumberland High School in Portmore, St Catherine, has denied a parliamentarian’s claim that students are being prevented from participating in sports and other extra-curricular activities because they are unable to pay fees requested.
Member of Parliament for St Catherine South East, Colin Fagan, sought answers through questions posed today (June 26) in the House of Representatives.
Minister of State in the education ministry Floyd Green, in response, said the school has denied blocking students due to non-payment.
“The ministry has followed up with the administration at Cumberland High School, and information provided states that no student has ever been excluded from participation in extra-curricular activities due to non-payment of parent contribution fees,” Green said.
He stated that, according to the school, there is a robust extra-curricular programme in place as part of an effort to re-brand the institution and ensure a wholesome development of students.
Green said the school’s administration also disclosed that there are 21 active clubs at the institution, adding that approximately 65 percent of students who are members of such clubs and societies have not paid contributions.
“However, the leadership of the school insists that participation of students in clubs and societies is mandatory despite the students’ status,” Green said.
He further declared that fees are not mandatory in schools, but parents can volunteer to pay.
I HAVE EVIDENCE
Fagan, however, insisted that Cumberland High is in breach of the government’s policy.
“I have enough evidence to suggest and to show you that these students have not gotten an opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities because they would not have paid their fees, and many of those students could have been on [the government’s welfare programme called] PATH…” Fagan claimed.
Green, in response, urged the opposition parliamentarian to take his evidence to the necessary authorities, including the ministry.
“If you (Fagan) have the information, in order for us to help each other, it would make sense that you raise the issue regarding a specific students with the principal firstly.
“Where there is inaction, you raise it with the [school] board chairman. And, if there is still inaction especially because we agree that students should be in schools, you raise it with us at the ministry. Write us in specific terms, indicating that this student is not being allowed to participate so that we can help each other in following up,” Green further advised.