JIS News

The Government has established a $500 million revolving loan fund to assist Public Sector employees who are pursuing studies at the tertiary level.
Some 176 public sector employees have already benefited from this initiative, known as the Tertiary Assistance Programme.
Speaking with JIS News, Deputy Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dennis Townsend, said that the 176 applications received to date were approved by the Ministry.
He further noted that the majority of the persons who applied were seeking to pursue studies in areas such as Management, Public Administration, Administrative Management, Accounts and the Sciences.
“The Tertiary Assistance Programme is one of several provisions that were agreed on under the second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU II), that was signed in May between the Government and the Trade Unions representing the public sector,” Mr. Townsend noted.
“Under the first MOU, there was an agreement to make every effort to train public servants, so that they may become more functional and marketable in their jobs,” he explained, adding that this initiative was a continuation of that agreement.
According to Mr. Townsend, the loan was available to public sector employees who are pursuing full-time, part-time or professional certification courses at tertiary institutions accredited by the University Council of Jamaica. The loan, he said, “will be available over the two-year period, 2006 to 2008”.
He pointed out that under the terms of the loan agreement, “public sector employees may borrow the full amount of their tuition fees at an interest rate of five per cent per annum on the reducing balance”.
To qualify, the applicant should be employed to the sector for at least two continuous years and must not be the beneficiary of any other local loan or grant for the same purpose. Priority will be given to persons who need to meet qualification requirements for permanent appointment.
Loans will be disbursed on a semester basis or annually to the tertiary institution, depending on how fees are charged, and subject to confirmation of registration by the institution.
“The value of the loan will be based on the individual’s ability to service the loan and is repayable in monthly installments over a three-year period,” Mr. Townsend said.
Applications can be obtained at the Human Resources Department of the organisation to which the individual is attached, or at the Special Benefits Unit at the Finance Ministry.