Private schools to be regulated under new Education Act
Guyana GINA, March 6, 2017
The regularisation of all private education institutions will be provided for under the new Education Act. Currently, only 20 per cent are recognised and registered with the Ministry of Education.
Technical Advisor to the Minster of Education, Vincent Alexander, said that the Education Act does not have sufficient guidelines regarding private intuitions hence, the revision of the Act will provide for such.
“The Education Act as it is does not have sufficient teeth, so to speak, in regards to regulating private schools. It is envisaged that the new Act, will be strengthened in terms of what the ministry can do to regularise private schools,” Alexander explained during an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).
Notwithstanding the kind of anticipatory approach, Alexander noted that the ministry has designated an education officer who is responsible for private schools. Even as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced that only 57 per cent of the private schools are registered with the entity, the ministry is in the process of trying to get all of the private schools on the register. “… this will only be perfected when we finalise the legislation which will then provide for the ministry to regulate the private schools in a manner which it is not provided for (in the current Education Act),” Alexander added.
There is a draft Bill and the intention is that after the Commission of Enquiry (COI) into Guyana’s education system report is completed, the ministry will then be acting on two major documents; the sector’s strategic plan, for which a review will be done, and the finalisation of the draft Education Bill, Alexander stated. After the Bill is reviewed it will be taken to the Attorney General Chambers, then to Parliament for consideration.
“It’s a work in progress in terms of upgrading the Education Act. It is far gone, it’s just for us to do a slight adjustment to that Bill in terms of what the COI comes up with,” Alexander said.
The 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition has resulted in public outcry from persons including the head of private learning schools.
During a press conference last week, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan explained that private schools have not been fulfilling their tax and National Insurance Scheme (NIS) obligations. Ten (10) percent of private schools are registered as Non -Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or Not for Profit while 14 are registered as profit making organisations, however only 57 percent are registered with the GRA.
Minister Jordan said that most of the private schools are not compliant and that the call to remove the VAT on tuition fees would result in a loss of around $350 M and could result in an upturn of the Government’s Economic Programme and attendant consequences, or a continuation of adjustments as seen fit to benefit all citizens.
By: Synieka Thorne