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Ministry increases allocations to schools

Thursday, July 26, 2018

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EDUCATION Minister Senator Ruel Reid says Government is on track with its allocation of financial support to secondary schools, and has bumped up resources to meet the needs of these institutions in the upcoming academic year, which begins September.

Speaking at yesterday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Senator Reid noted that total support provided to high schools for the 2018/19 school year is now at $8.34 billion, an increase of $435.8 million over last year.

He said that operational and social grants to high schools amount to $3.7 billion, reflecting an increase of close to $50 million, which he said is attributed to the enrolment increase in these institutions of more than 2,000.

“Allocations for staffing support have also been increased by more than $317,000 and we have allocated $292.397 million to the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), which has been rolled out in all high schools,” he said.

Senator Reid explained that these variations are intended to facilitate implementation of the ministry's K- 13 programme, which is a stimulation strategy targeting children up to 18 years old. He noted that the PATH feeding grant has also been increased by $43.735 million.

The minister said grants go towards areas such as feeding programmes, information communication technology, furniture, home economics, computer labs, industrial technology, transportation, and the newly introduced special tourism programmes in some schools.

At the same time, infant, all age, primary and primary and junior high schools across the education ministry's six regions are to receive similar grants, totaling just over $4.2 billion. This is in addition to financial aid for clerical assistance, utilities, janitorial services, environmental wardens and security services, as well as for school canteens and associated personnel.

The education minister said the first tranche of the allocation for these schools has already been dispatched in order to assist the institutions with preparing for the start of the upcoming academic year. “Another three tranches will follow throughout the course of the academic year,” he said, also pointing out that PATH accounts for the largest allocation to these schools, at $2.2 billion for the school year.

Additionally, $323.1 million has been budgeted for support school cooks, and $306.6 million allocated for infrastructure and maintenance. Minister Reid also informed reporters that regular grants amounting to $583.7 million have been allocated in addition to the funds committed to the other areas.

— Alphea Saunders

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