The registration fees within the state-owned secondary schools of St. Vincent and the Grenadines varies and a few questions have been raised in regards to why this is.

Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre, the opposition spokesperson on education, brought his concern about the increase in registration fees when a child enters secondary school and how the fee varies across SVG state-owned secondary schools. Terrance Ollivierre highlighted an example of the ‘high’ fees and how they vary by making reference to St. Vincent Girls’ High School’s fee of $300 while at the St. Vincent Grammar School’s fee is $220.

The opposition lawmaker requested that Jimmy Prince, Minister Of Education, elaborate on the nature of the fees, if the government pays any role in setting them, the nature of the variation and why they are ‘so high’. In responce, Jimmy Prince stated, “Most of the public secondary schools charge a registration fee of between 10 to 50 dollars. The fees often include the book loan fee, 50 dollars, PE t-shirts, school ties, school belts, exercise books, activity fees, etc. that’s part of the registration package.” Jimmy also drew reference to the St. Vincent Girls High School and explained that for that particular school, registration fee is $25, the PE t-shirt $35, exercise books, $50 for two dozens, school tie, $50, sports club, $50, sports club t-shirt $25 and an optional gate pass card is $10.

“The government at the moment pays no major role in the setting of the fees by the schools. In the case of the Book Loan Scheme, the fee of $50 was set by government,” he went on to say. In regards to the fees being “so high”, Prince said that the sum total of the fees in some schools “may sound high on paper but we have to examine what those fees are for.”

“As I said before, some schools provide the exercise books, school ties, recorder, PE t-shirt, etc., etc., and the parents would have had to purchase these items anyway for the children and they get them cheaper at the school if they buy in bulk, etc,” Prince stated.

He explained to Parliament that the variation is highly dependent on what the school is providing as part of the registration package and the package varies from school from school. “The government is currently examining the various fees to streamline the fee structure charged at public schools,” Prince said.