JIS News

Minister of Education, Andrew Holness has said that schools, in the future, would receive funds for nutrition programmes on time.
He gave the assurance at a press conference held at the Ministry yesterday (Feb. 26), to address concerns that have arisen regarding late payments for the school feeding programme, as well as allocations under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).
According to the Minister, late allocation of funds from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, as well as incorrect banking information from some 200 institutions, had delayed the disbursement of feeding grants to schools.
He explained that formerly, cheques were drawn and sent through the regional offices to the schools, but this year, an online banking system was utilised for the first time to facilitate direct deposits to the bank accounts of the schools, which also contributed to the delay.
He noted however that no school was inconvenienced for more than three or four days. “There is a band in which we normally make the grants, and that band can fluctuate from within a week to as much as three weeks. This time, we were at the extreme end of the band, and so some schools were affected,” Minister Holness said.
In addition, he informed that some institutions, with approval from the Ministry, had diverted funds from other activities to provide nutrition support, until the money was received. “That has been the standard practice and many schools have done so. I want to congratulate those schools that have taken the initiative to do that, because that is how we expect our principals to manage their situations,” he stated.
In the meantime, Mr. Holness said that the Ministry as of today (Feb. 27) would be sending out instructions to principals, to “not necessarily give directives, but give guidance as to how they should manage their nutrition support programmes, being more mindful of the sensibilities and the Government’s thrust towards an inclusive education system.”

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