JIS News

The Government’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), has been hailed by an overseas based research entity as the “best targeted social assistance programme that Jamaica has seen when compared with both previous and existing programmes”.
Project Director of PATH in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Trevor Smith, said the American research entity, Mathematica, praised the PATH programme for successfully facilitating social assistance to needy Jamaicans.
Mr. Smith was addressing a PATH ‘Top Achievers’ award ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, yesterday (September 12). The ceremony was hosted to honour seven student beneficiaries of the PATH programme for maintaining academic excellence at their respective schools.
The Project Director said since PATH broadened its target base in December 2002 to cover the entire island, the number of registered individuals has grown substantially from 150,000 to an estimated 240,000 beneficiaries.
In addition to the positive assessments given by Mathematica, Mr. Smith informed that a local company, Hope Enterprise, under the supervision of Mathematica, credited the programme as making “tremendous improvements in the relationship between teachers and parents of PATH students in school and that many participants of the research indicated that PATH has created an important incentive for them to send their children to school regularly”.
He informed that the Survey of Living Conditions cited PATH as “one of the main contributors to the reduction in the incidence of poverty from 19.7 per cent in 2003 to 16.49 per cent in 2004”. The survey further credited PATH as having measurable impact in improving the school attendance of students who are beneficiaries under the Programme, with 92 per cent of the students who receive the social assistance shown to regularly attend school.
The seven students honoured at the ceremony were selected based on their academic performance, personal conduct, school attendance, and special awards and achievements.
The awardees are Covell McDermott of the Oracabessa High School who placed first as the island’s top scholar; St. Elizabeth Technical High School student, Alecia Clarke was second;and Tanysha James of Manchester High School placed third. In fourth place were Frome Technical High School student, Omardo Heaven and Delano Davis of Clan Carthy High; and Millicent Pryce of Denbigh High School placed fifth. The junior top scholar was Davion Samuels of Grange Hill Primary School.
Awards were also presented to the top school and top health centre in the island as deemed by their quality service delivery. In addition, the PATH parish offices were also recognised for their work in such areas as timely submission of compliance reports, and the quality of social work reports.
PATH is a programme funded by the Government of Jamaica and the World Bank, aimed at delivering benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy persons in the society. The programme is administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and replaces three major social assistance programmes – Food Stamp, Public Assistance and Outdoor Poor Relief.
All beneficiaries must adhere to certain conditions and therefore, school aged children between six and 17 years are required to maintain an 85 per cent attendance record in school. Other categories of beneficiaries, including the elderly, poor adults, and pregnant women and persons with disabilities are required to maintain a schedule of visits to health centres.
Under the programme, beneficiaries will receive monthly payments of $300 in the first year of the programme, $375 in the second year and $500 in the third year. Payments will be made every two months.