A proposal is yet to be received by the Minister of Education for government to start charging school fees for non-Antiguan students.
Minister of Education Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said the issue will be dealt with once it reaches that stage.
“This matter was a technical paper, a technical discussion that was being discussed by technical officers in the Ministry. It is not a policy decision; it has not yet come to my desk as a Green Paper or as a White Paper to be taken to Cabinet,” Dr Quinn-Leandro said.
“That is as much as I will say, whenever that discussion or that debate comes to the fore we will of course share the information with the press. It’s an issue that certainly will be dealt with when the time comes,” she added.
The proposal has caused widespread debate with concerns being raised that it may be discriminatory.
Director of Education Jacintha Pringle had said the ministry was seriously considering introducing the measure from next year due to the burden that non-Antiguan children are placing on the education system.
Meanwhile Education Officer for Overseas Examinations, Myrick Smith has refused to be drawn into the debate over the lowered pass requirements for the Common Entrance exams.
The main opposition Antigua Labour Party has accused the government of lowering the bar, which it said is doing students more harm than good.
However Smith said it’s too early to determine the effect the decision will have on results at higher levels such as CSEC.
“This thing about lowering the bar, I don’t know about that. We can look at the (CSEC) statistics five years from now and I suggest we leave the discussion until then,” Smith said.
The Education Minister did defend the move, which allows students who only passed mathematics and English to move into secondary school this year.
“This whole notion of lowering standards it’s not true. The students who have failed Grade 6 are being asked to repeat Grade 6, we are making sure the foundation is laid in primary school so that when they move to secondary school they are able to negotiate those exams,” Dr Quinn-Leandro said.
“In most of the region the assessment for going from primary to secondary is maths and English … what we have indicated for this year probably the few students who would have passed English and maths and maybe got a few points in social studies and science they will get the chance to move on to a secondary education,” she added.
The Minister of Education said only time will tell if the move affects grades at the CSEC level.
“I think that a lot of this debate about sustainability of the quality of our grades in CXC and so on we will have to see … whether or not there is a loss of quality.”