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JIS News

President of the Principals Association of Jamaica, Michael Stewart is lauding the Government’s Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), noting that there has been incremental academic and attendance improvement by student beneficiaries.
He told JIS News that the improvement was, to a certain extent, a direct result of the government’s 22.6 per cent increase in the funds allocated to parents, since April 1 of this year.
The funds given to schools through PATH are used for the school feeding programme, while the money given to parents is used to assist with other expenses, such as transportation.
“Those students who are on the PATH programme have consistently been improving, they have been doing well. As far as academics are concerned, we have seen marked improvement in areas such as Reading, English, and Mathematics as well as in overall behaviour,” the President said.
According to Mr. Stewart, who is also the Principal of Porus High School in Manchester, attendance at his school has increased dramatically.
“Of the 1,200 students enrolled at the institution, 442 are PATH beneficiaries and 90 per cent of those students attend school on a more frequent basis, when compared to non beneficiaries,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the President has said there are areas of the PATH programme that need to be improved.
“This latest initiative is a start in the right direction, but I am not entirely satisfied with the programme. There is room for improvement, because there are many more students at school who could be accommodated on the programme and the Ministry needs to revisit some of the questions that officers ask when they go out in the field,” he said.
Speaking with JIS News, Isolyn Baker, grandmother of a PATH beneficiary, is overwhelmed by the latest increase to the PATH programme.
According to Miss Baker, the programme is quite helpful in reducing the expenses. “It helps a lot in sending the children to school.and I was so surprised they put something else on it. They give three days for lunch, so I can assist with the two days after, so it really helps a lot,” she said.
Currently, 127,000 students are benefiting from the PATH programme – 64,000 boys and 63,000 girls.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced earlier this year, that the individual PATH benefit would be increased from $530 to $650 per month.