- The achievements under the programme have enabled the initiative to be expanded across the island.
- 'School Wi Seh’ aims to reduce non-attendance in the targeted schools by 10 per cent over a one year period.
- The aim is to empower schools to address the issue of compliance among PATH beneficiaries.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is hailing the ‘School Wi Seh’ campaign as a success.
He tells JIS News that the achievements under the programme, which has been implemented as a pilot in four high schools in the parish of Clarendon, have enabled the initiative to be expanded across the island.
“It is because of the nature of the pilot why we decided to expand it island-wide, so it was quite successful. Information that was gathered encouraged us to go island-wide. ‘School Wi Seh’ continues to be a trump card because we want to get everybody into the frame of mind to go to school,” Mr. Kellier says.
An initiative of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), ‘School Wi Seh’ aims to reduce non-attendance in the targeted schools by 10 per cent over a one year period, through a Compliance Intervention Strategy (CIS).
This is in keeping with the Government’s strategic priority for 2013/14, focussed on education for individual/family advancement and national development.
The aim is to empower schools to address the issue of compliance among PATH beneficiaries, by providing them with resources of a maximum of $500,000 to develop and implement localised interventions.
The Ministries of Labour and Social Security and Education, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the undertaking in February.
Minister Kellier tells JIS News that the four pilot project schools namely: Edwin Allen High, Kemps Hill High, Claude McKay High and Central High Schools, were targeted “because the information gathered suggested that they were amongst some of the worse cases of delinquencies in the island.”
He says that the programme has now been expanded to include 61 schools island-wide.
“We have gone further…because we recognise that a weakness exists in the system where attendance is concerned and families are having it difficult,” the Labour and Social Security Minister says.
He informs that the Government has implemented a transportation allowance initiative for the 61 institutions. A total of $200 million has been allocated in the 2013/14 budget for this purpose.
“We recognise that because of the nature of the geography of where these people live it was creating some problems for them getting to school,” Mr. Kellier says.
“This programme that we have rolled out now will take care of that and we expect to see full compliance to the tenets of the PATH requirements now because there will be no excuse for students to stay at home because they don’t have the (transportation) fare,” he adds.
It is projected that the selected schools impacted by this new transportation allowance will see attendance rates improve by some 10 per cent.
Social workers attached to the Labour Ministry will work with guidance counsellors in the selected schools to identify children with transportation challenges.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kellier says that parents and guardians are very receptive to the ‘School Wi Seh’ campaign “as people want to get out of poverty”.
“Poverty is the biggest scourge that is affecting the development of this country,” he says, noting that the Government is “100 per cent committed” to the eradication of the bane.
He adds that the actions being undertaken are being welcomed by Jamaicans, because of the recognition that if children get an education it is a passport to a better future.
PATH has helped to transform the lives of over 400,000 Jamaicans since its inception in 2002.
A conditional cash transfer programme, funded by the Government of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the initiative provides assistance to the most needy, by way of cash grants.
PATH offers an array of benefits to children from birth to completion of secondary school; senior citizens 60 years and over, who are not in receipt of a pension; persons with disabilities; pregnant and lactating women; and poor adults, between the ages of 18 to 59 years, who are duly registered.
For further details on PATH, persons can visit the Ministry’s parish offices island wide, or call 922-8000-13 or 1-888 991-2089 (toll free).