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Parliamentary representative for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock has suggested that the National Lotteries Authorities (NLA) pay the registration fees for students entering secondary school.

These students pay fees of various amounts when entering secondary school and Opposition Leader Godwin Friday, on a national address on education, on Sept. 21, called for their abolishment.

“Parents should look to the new school year with hope, happy that their children are finally returning to the classroom,” Friday said. 

“They should not have to worry unnecessarily about the high cost of textbooks, shoes and school uniforms and ever-increasing registration fees,” he further stated.

“Registration fees for secondary schools are too much. At a time when families are facing pressures across the board, we believe registration fees should be eliminated,” the opposition leader said.

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Speaking, on Monday, on the New Democratic Party’s radio programme, Leacock said he wanted to continue that conversation, adding that a constituent had told him that the registration fees at the Community College were as high as EC$700.

“Those are pretty heavy fees,” said Leacock, a vice-president of the NDP, who is acting as party leader as Friday is overseas.

Leacock noted that Friday made the point that many students dropout of school between admission and writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

In the address, Friday said that this year’s graduation ceremony of the Bequia Community High School, his alma mater, the principal reported that of 21 students who started in Form 1, only three made it to the graduating class of 2022 — which had a total of 12 students.  

St. Clair Leacock
Central Kingstown MP and New Democratic Party Vice-President, St. Clair Leacock. (File photo)

Leacock said:

“Nothing new, because [Curtis King] the junior minister of education himself spoke to that before he became a minister of government, when he was not constrained, of the high dropout rate in SVG.”

Leacock said Friday was addressing a fundamental point that more has to be done to lighten the burden of attending secondary school.

“Whatever the numbers are, if we do the maths and we multiply it by $500 by 2,000, we are still talking $1 million,” Leacock said, referring to the total amount that is paid in registration fees.

He noted that this is where the NLA – which was established to support sports and culture – can play a role.

“… [take] one of those $80 million that they generate and we say this is for a good cause, this is for the future of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we are investing in our young people, let us pay these registration fees,” Leacock said.

“We can’t lose and, in that case, it doesn’t even become a balance sheet item for the government, it doesn’t enter the budget as a negotiation, there is no strain on the taxpayers.”

He said that a parent could then use the registration fee to pay for transportation for a student for a term or help to provide them with refreshments for school.

“So, it is not a small contribution if you take the money off a parent. You are giving them nearly three, four months’ benefits,” Leacock said.

He said that the NDP, while it was in office, bought lands and established the Community College and also set up the book loan scheme.

Leacock also mentioned policies that the NDP has said it would implement in education, if voted back into office.

These include paying for the CSEC fees for all students.

He further pointed out that the party’s shadow education minister, MP for the Southern Grenadines, Terrance Ollivierre has proposed that the government build a hostel in St. Vincent for students from his constituency, who attend secondary Schools in Kingstown.

“We are thinking these things through. We are not only doing the analysis but we are being solutions-based and solutions-anchored,” Leacock said.  

4 replies on “Lotto should pay high school registration fees — Leacock”

  1. Brilliant idea Major Leacock! Maybe the local brewery and rum factory would be enlightened and share the cost. “Made possible by Lotto, Beer and Booze” ….a fantastic way of showcasing their Corporate Social Responsibility!

  2. Labour only care about projects in Georgetown and North Leeward not about the Grenadines or any other place outside their stronghold. Look how the airports in the Grenadines lacking. They even willing to let Kingstown turn into a giant dump till further notice. Text books? Registration fees? 80 million, Huh, wah?

  3. Strongly agree, but sadly it will never happen. Vincentian are very special and delicate set of people, only for election purposes.

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