#Kingston, August 18, 2019 – Jamaica – A total of 162,654 children who are registered with the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) will benefit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Back-to-School grant programme.
The Ministry will be disbursing $569.289 million to several PATH families, with each student set to receive $3,500 during the month of August. The benefit is payable to all registered PATH students attending primary and secondary schools islandwide.
Introduced in September 2018, the initiative is part of efforts by the Government to improve social safety net programmes and to increase the level of support provided to poor families.
At the handover of cheques to some beneficiaries on Friday (August 16) at the Ministry, in Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, said the decision was made to make the grant programme an annual initiative, to ease the burden of expenses associated with back-to-school preparations.
“With all the challenges with back-to-school (preparations) and just living, I think that PATH is doing a good thing. As a representative of the people, I know the challenges that parents face with these enormous book lists and every year they get more expensive, so any little help to take you over the hill, I know, will be appreciated,” the Minister said.
Describing PATH as an “investment” in the country’s youth, Mrs. Robinson encouraged the parents and guardians present to ensure that children attend school every day.
“Time lost cannot be regained and it is important that this is impressed upon the children. The only way you can escape poverty is through education. Successive governments realise that we must invest in education. We must invest in our children,” she said.
Eighty-four year-old Raphael Case, who collected cheques for his grandchildren, said he is grateful for this assistance, as the grant will help in purchasing books, uniforms and stationery for the children who are enrolled in primary and secondary institutions.
Mother of six, Suzanne Dawkins, said she is grateful for the assistance which will go a far way in offsetting back-to-school expenses.
“I feel nice this morning when I opened the cheque. I felt good. Just this morning I walked down to the bookstore and I saw that the price for one of the books is $4,000. I didn’t know where the money would come from,” she said.
Ms. Dawkins said she has been telling others about the programme, which has provided invaluable assistance in her children’s education.
“I have been trying to tell others about it. There are children out there only going to school three days for the week and I’m telling the mothers to register their children with the PATH, because it will help them to go through school,” she told JIS News.
Contact: Rochelle Williams