The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has officially launched the ‘We Need to Know’ public education campaign, which encourages compliance among the beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
The campaign seeks to ensure that parents or guardians of PATH beneficiaries who have started primary school, junior high, high school, or who have changed schools, inform the Ministry’s parish office. Failure to do this will result in the benefits being discontinued.
It also aims to get parents and guardians, who fall under the PATH programme, to register their children attending school for the first time; and to impress upon secondary-level students the need for them to be aware of the new post-secondary initiative, whereby PATH students who have applied and are accepted in a post-secondary institution are given a one-time payment of $15,000.
Speaking at the official launch, held at the Papine High School in Kingston, on September 29, State Minister, Hon. Andrew Gallimore encouraged the students to remain focussed, urging them to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the school and the Government.
“I want to let you know that this is why the PATH programme, which is the focal point of the social safety net, focusses so much on education. The programme is not about a handout, it’s about a hand-up, lifting people and helping them to become what they can be,” he said.
The State Minister told the students that their education will determine the quality of the life they are going to live. “The harder and longer you study, and the longer you remain a student, is the more successful you are likely to be,” he added.
State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore (left), having a light conversation with Chairman of the Board of the Papine High School, in Kingston, Ms. Carolyn Hayle, during the official launch of the ‘We Need to Know’ public education campaign, held at the institution on September 29. The campaign seeks to encourage compliance among the beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).
He informed that the PATH programme has a budget of some $3 billion this year, and that 80 per cent of that amount will be spent on children who are going to primary and secondary schools.
Highlighting the significance of the programme, the State Minister noted that it is increasing the level of attendance in schools. “Children who are on the PATH programme have a three per cent better attendance in school than children who are not, and so we know that the programme is working,” he said.
He stressed that education should not end at high school and as such the Government has developed a strategy to ensure that this trend is broken, in offsetting some of the expenses.
“The Government, through the PATH programme, which normally ends when a child exits high school…is going to be giving a one-time payment to every child graduating from high school of $15,000, if you have applied and are accepted into a post-secondary institution,” the State Minister said.
“Poverty is not a thing that you should be ashamed of; it doesn’t matter where you are coming from in life, what matters is where you are going,” he said.
One of the primary features of PATH is the provision of at least two and up to five meals per week for primary and secondary level students, who are unable to afford meals while at school.
PATH aims to deliver benefits, by way of cash grants, to the neediest persons in the society. Over 326,000 persons are enrolled in the programme.