By Theresa Goodwin
The executive of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT) will be seeking an audience with officials in the Ministry of Education to get clarity on a new structure of fees introduced on Monday.
A&BUT President Kimdale Mackellar told Observer yesterday that the body was made aware of the fees via an email from the ministry.
He said the union is very concerned since the fees apply to members of the public as well as public school teachers across the country.
In a notice issued on Monday, the Ministry of Education advised that with immediate effect a fee of $40 will be charged for exam letters of certification, and $10 will be charged for the certification of documents. There will also be a $400 weekly fee for using a school to host a summer camp, $100 per night for overnight camps, $100 daily for concerts, and $50 for any other use.
Additionally, people photocopying documents will be charged $2 per sheet, $40 for immigration letters for student permits, and $30 as a student transfer processing fee unless waived by the Director of Education.
A fee of $25 or US$10 dollars will also be charged for proof of registration letters for learning institutions which are issued by the ministry for overseas institutions.
Teachers will also be required to pay $5 if they require an additional copy of payslips which are usually distributed for free on a monthly basis.
The information was outlined in a minute to school principals.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Ministry of Education has confirmed that the new fees are part of a mandate issued by the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda.
The individual, who asked not to be named, said the government has charged each ministry with raising a portion of its annual budget.
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Creative Industries usually receives the lion’s share of the annual budget. This was the case in the last budget cycle, when it was allocated $143.1 million for recurrent expenditure and $20.1 million for capital expenditure.
Observer has reached out to ministry officials for comment and further clarification.