Education Minister, Ruel Reid, has withdrawn comments he made on Wednesday criticizing some school administrators he said were corruptly attempting to extort parents.
His comments have drawn criticism from the Opposition, the Jamaica Teacher’s Association, JTA, and some of the school administrators he lambasted.
In a post on Twitter last evening, Minister Reid said: “I withdraw the reference of extortion and corruption to breach of non-mandatory fees policy.”
He later appeared on Nationwide @5, declaring that while he’s withdrawing the comments, he’s not ‘resiling’ from his point.
He’d railed against school administrators whom he suggested were breaching the government’s policy of not demanding auxiliary fees from parents.
The government says financial contributions from parents should be optional as it’s already funding the operations of schools.
Minister Reid warned that he’ll take ‘very strong action’ against school administrators who continued to defy the government’s policy.
Opposition Spokesman on Education, Ronald Thwaites, accused him of ‘bullying’ schools while the JTA said his comments were ‘unfortunate’ and demanded a retraction.
Mr. Thwaites last evening welcomed his withdrawal of his controversial comments.
And, Secretary General of the JTA, Byron Farquharson, says he’s ‘extremely happy’ Minister Reid has withdrawn the comments.