THE Presbyterian Primary Schools’ Board of Education said it is against teachers charging fees for extra lessons conducted on its compounds.
The board has also initiated an investigation into allegations that one of its teachers was soliciting fees for additional SEA lessons although the arrangement has been quashed after being made public.
Newsday reported on Wednesday that teachers at the Princes Town Presbyterian Primary No 1 school was asking parents of students writing the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exams to pay as much as $100 per session for ‘enforcement lessons’.
The lessons were scheduled to begin on June 29, ending just before the August 20 SEA exams.
Parents who were approached said the classes were scheduled to take place on the school compound. Schools have been closed since March, but is due to be reopened for the August 20 SEA exams and one month prior for Standard Five teachers to assist students with their preparation.
Secondary schools will also be reopened for the CSEC and CAPE examination in July.
The government has agreed to pay primary school teachers, who are being asked to come to school during their vacation, a stipend equivalent to one month’s salary.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia said while the denominational boards own their schools and can give permission for private lessons to be held on the compounds for a fee, “for a teacher to charge $100 a session in my view that is totally unacceptable.”
However, general secretary of the PPSBE Geeta K Maharaj said the board frowned on extra lessons for a fee on the compound.
In a release Maharaj endorsed the position of chairman Rev Brenda Bullock that the board was not aware of the allegation/report.
“The board has requested an immediate report from the principal on this issue.” The principal is Ruth Ramratan-Hosein.
Maharaj asserted that in keeping with the policy of the Ministry of Education and the Education Act, “The PPSBE does not support or give approval for extra lessons on its school compounds for fees.”
She explained that the board, as part of its management strategies issued circulars to this effect that no extra lessons be held for a fee on the compound.
“The last such circular was issued on September 26, 2019 at the start of the academic year. The Board also reinforces its position during visits to schools when meetings are held with principals and teachers.”
Maharaj said the board has been working with all of their principals to ensure that their schools are cleaned and sanitized and ready for the resumption of Standard 5 classes on July 20.
“We have urged all our principals to take the necessary action to ensure the safety and comfort of our students.”
Maharaj assured the board will continue to work with its principals and teachers to ensure their students are well prepared for SEA and for the reopening of the new school term on September 1.
Garcia said the Director of School Supervision (DSS) did investigate the matter and reported to him that what transpired was a private arrangement between a teacher and parents , the latter who requested some additional assistance for their children.