Education costs

Author : teriann

Do you have children? Well even if you don’t have children of your own I am sure that you are aware that there are several costs associated with raising children.  You might think of the obvious cost of food, clothing and any medical attention that they might need but one of the major challenges that most parents face is not being able to afford the cost of education for their children.

The early years

In Jamaica most children are sent to basic or pre school between 2 and 3 years old.  These basic schools are sometimes run by churches, private organizations or government funded institutions. These basic schools differ in the amount of money they charge parents.  School fees can range from $20,000 upwards per term but of course this varies as it depends on the type of school and community.

The school also has various fund raisers that parents are encouraged to contribute to improve the school’s environment. These include activities such as jeans day or hat day where students get to wear alternative uniform for an additional  cost.

As the child approaches age 6 he is ready for primary school.  Some preparatory schools have kindergarten classes so they simply stay at the same school. Whereas government run primary schools only charge a minimal fee for registration there is usually a lengthy book list to supplement any textbooks supplied by the government.

High School

At age 12, the child now takes an exit exam at grade 6. The exam is free to enter however the extra classes offered by teachers are not free.  In addition to the classes, often the books are more expensive and additional materials might be needed to complete assignments and projects.

High school is another budget killer for parents as beside the usual cost for uniform and books they face paying registration fees of at least $5000 then a yearly school fee. The school fee range varies but they most level off to about $30,000 a year.

At the end of five years in high school the child prepares to take another exit exam.  This time this exit exams has a hefty price tag. Some fifth form students have presented parents with vouchers up to $50,000.

How to deal with the costs!

It might seem overwhelming to contemplate the costs associated with educating your children but there is hope! the most important factor is to start early. If parents consistently put aside money they will be able to deal with the costs and that will ease the financial burden.

I also recommend to parents that they get their children involved.  Children can be given lunch money for the week and taught how to budget their funds so that they are able to learn how to spend their money wisely.

There are several organizations that cater to parents who want to put their funds in an educational savings plans.  There are also scholarships available to offset examination fees.  These scholarships are offered by both private and public entities and if your child qualifies it can significantly reduce the funds required to pay for their education.

So what’s your take on the issue? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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