JIS News

The Ministry of Education is reviewing the school feeding programme, to improve its effectiveness and to ensure that the neediest students are served.
Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, addressing a press conference held at the Ministry yesterday (Feb. 26), said that criticisms have been levelled against the structure of the programme and the system developed to identify needy students.
Each year, the Government of Jamaica allocates approximately $1.6 billion to fund a nutrition programme in schools. The support comes in the form of nutri-bun and milk; the provision of commodities such as rice, flour, cornmeal, vegetable oil, and tin protein; and cash grants to purchase meat and ground provisions.
“Basically, that supports schools in line with the poverty map and in rural areas. There are certain critical schools in the Corporate Area and in certain inner city communities, as well in the (other) urban areas that are supported,” Minister Holness informed.
In addition, the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), which is administered by the Ministry of Social Security, supports certain students whose families have been identified as in need, based on an identification system. The Ministry of Education is given a list of the students, which now stands at approximately 119,000 youngsters.
Questions have also been raised about the effectiveness of the identification system, which the Minister assures will be assessed. “We work solely on what we are provided with by the Ministry of Social Security. Our guidance counsellors, however, guide the process somewhat. They assist in identifying (beneficiaries) and we, in the future, will be working to refine the identification system,” Minister Holness stated.

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