Articles

Fri 3rd Aug 2007

New education tax oppresses the poor

The ULP regime has imposed more hardship for poor and low-income families by introducing charges for education. From the next school year parents must pay EC$ 20 to register a child for school and incur EC$ 65 per child for text and exercise books.

Free education should be a right for all children in SVG. It is unacceptable and unreasonable that children's education in SVG should cost parents one dollar. The ULP regime should be thoroughly ashamed for putting charges on education.

Already we see that a significant number of children from poor families do not go or finish their secondary school education. These charges will make more children be unable to attend school. It sets to create yet a bigger financial and opportunity gap between the rich and the poor, and another generation of poverty in SVG. These charges will affect poor children's long-term ability to gain jobs and be financially secure.

With costs of a least EC$ 85, a family with 4 children would incur huge costs of EC$ 380. How many days could this feed a poor family for? Let's not forget that while poor families struggle to decide whether to put food on the table or send a child to school, the ULP regime has given the Prime Minister's office a disgracefully high budget of EC$ 1.95 million. This money would have better value funding poor children's education. It is a clear act of disrespect to the children of our nation.

In essence, these charges are yet another tax, but wasn't VAT enough to devastate many poor house-holds. The government is short of money and it is unfair that parents have to pay for their children's education, because of ULP regime economic incompetence. Let them dip in to their own pockets to pay for their incompetence. Why should parents pay and why should children's education suffer?

SVG Green Party has always said that education is essential for a population to move forward. Our 2005 manifesto (pp 31 - 32) states this and our policies are as relevant now as they were then. Education is the means to eradicate poverty and we have an obligation to assist those in poverty in SVG out of poverty. We have an obligation to make sure that children who go hungry and uneducated today, do not go hungry and uneducated tomorrow.

Education skills children to rise up and conquer their obstacles, and more importantly, it skills children to ensure that their children - the next generation - have food in their belly and money in their pocket. Once this cycle of skilled children starts, generational poverty will never return to the shores of our nation.

An SVG Green Party government would make education in SVG free to our children from preschool to university. No ifs, no buts - it has to be free and then, and only then, will SVG move forward and out of this present ridiculous state of economics affairs, high crime and extensive, unnecessary poverty.

Stable long-term social, environmental and economic security is what an SVG Green Party government can provide. It is up to you to decide if you want this for your family!

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