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Approximately 20,000 students on the Government’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) are to benefit from a transportation allowance when the new school year starts in September.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, said his Ministry is working with the Ministry of Education to finalise details of the proposed allowance.

Mr. Kellier, who was making his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debates in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 4, said studies indicate that one of the main causes of non-compliance by PATH students, is their inability to pay for transportation especially where they have to travel long distances to attend school.

“We will target 20,000 PATH children in primary and secondary schools, who have been consistently non-compliant because of transportation constraints.

This intervention will be channeled through schools that are identified as having high rates of non-compliance. It is projected that the selected schools will see attendance rates improve by 10 per cent, while there should be a similar reduction in non-compliance rates among the students,” he stated.

Also starting in September, the Ministry will be providing bursaries to PATH students registered in universities and colleges. Minister Kellier informed that $100 million has been budgeted to provide 1,000 bursaries in this fiscal year. Students stand to receive up to $100,000.

He further explained that the bursaries are performance driven and will require the recipient to achieve a desired academic performance standard to be decided by the institution.

Minister Kellier said that PATH students in tertiary level institutions “represent the clearest sign of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty through education”.

He noted that PATH remains a viable method of providing support to families in need. He informed that the programme currently provides support to approximately 413,000 beneficiaries in 138,000 families islandwide.

He said that the Government will, this year, improve the value of the benefit by 15 per cent for all categories of beneficiaries.

A special provision will also be made for the elderly in PATH families whose benefits will be increased from $900 to $1,500 per month, a 67 per cent improvement.

Contact: Andrea Braham

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