Golding: Spending in education has reduced
Opposition Leader Mark Golding making his contribution to the 2023/2024 Budget Debate in Parliament on Tuesday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Opposition Leader Mark Golding has taken issue with the Government's reduced spend on the delivery of instruction in schools over the last six years.

Golding, who was making his contribution to the 2023/2024 Budget Debate in Parliament on Tuesday, said that the Administration's expenditure on the delivery of instruction at pre-primary, primary and secondary schools has declined by 1.6 per cent in real terms over the past six years.

"The $73.7 billion tabled in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year for teaching is equivalent in real terms to just $50.4 billion in financial year 2016/2017, due to the 46 per cent accumulated inflation since then. That is actually less than the $51.2-billion that was spent on delivery of instruction in 2016/2017… This is a shock when you think that fiscal space has expanded so dramatically, that the real expenditure on the delivery of instruction/teaching has actually declined," he said.

He noted that the overall decline primarily reflects the 9.4 per cent reduction on delivery of instruction at the primary education level in real terms.

"So, while the information minister has been complaining about 'dunceness' in dancehall music, his Government has been reducing the investment required at primary schools," he said.

He further noted that the Government "has yet to outline any effective measures to address the two years of serious learning loss because of COVID-19 and school lockdown for that two-year period".

"This Government clearly does not value education. To move Jamaica forward, we need to change priorities and put the people first. Invest in the Jamaican people to build Jamaica," he stressed.

BY ALECIA SMITH Senior staff reporter

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