Private schools will need help too

Private schools will need help too

Friday, June 05, 2020

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Dear Editor,

In the Jamaica Observer of June 3 you carried an important article that might unfortunately be dismissed. It is headlined 'Speid says closure of private schools will cost Gov't more'. I write to commend the president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) for being insightful and very blunt about this issue which those in authority are skirting around.

In part the goodly gentleman states: “I think it would be penny wise and pound foolish for any Government to believe that [it] can ignore the private schools and just go ahead and provide funding to the public schools and leave those private schools to die; it will cost us much more if those institutions die.”

This assessment of the situation made by Owen Speid is an echo of the sound contained in a letter sent by the Ecumenical Education Committee (EEC) on May 18, 2020 to the pertinent authorities on this same issue. It reads in part: “Were it not for such [private] institutions the Government of Jamaica could never ever provide enough places for the education of the people of Jamaica.” Knowing that the Government is not a “cash cow”, the EEC goes on to propose two possibilities of assistance to such institutions:

1) A grant from the Government of Jamaica to all early childhood education institutions, because of their crucial educational foundation role;

2) The facility of a soft loan of $10 million to assist any struggling preparatory institution to recover from this economic setback posed by coronavirus pandemic.

Prayerfully awaiting a response to our suggestion, we, the members of the EEC (churches and trusts) want to thank the president of the JTA for lending a voice of sound reason to this most important issue — the holistic education of our students and future leaders of Jamaica.

Donald J Reece


Ecumenical Education Committee

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