JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is reminding parents, who are having difficulties paying their children’s secondary school fees, that once they are a beneficiary under the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), they automatically qualify for the government’s cost sharing programme.
Project Director for PATH, Colette Roberts-Risden, explained that, “once you are a PATH beneficiary, who is attending a secondary institution, the government under its cost sharing programming pays your full tuition. These students do not only get their school fees paid, they also receive all the textbooks that are on their school’s book rental programme”.
She advised that persons, who wished to benefit under PATH, could apply at any of the Ministry’s parish offices. “The procedure to benefit from the programme is very simple. A family becomes eligibly for PATH once the family is poor and there are children up to 17 years old in that household. Disabled individuals and elderly persons over 60 years old also qualify,” she informed.
Mrs. Roberts-Risden explained that, “a parent or guardian of a household can go into any of our offices with a valid identification and the birth certificates of all the children in that household. An interview is done and then an assessment is made. This assessment normally takes between 6 to 8 weeks to be completed.”
She however informed that they were certain requirements that must be met if beneficiaries were to remain on the programme. “For children attending secondary school they have to maintain an 85 per cent school attendance record. We check this attendance record every two months to ensure compliance. If students fail to comply then the benefits are temporarily suspended,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, parents were being reminded to inform the Ministry’s parish offices, if their children will attend a new school come September.
In addition, Mrs. Risden-Roberts said, if there were beneficiaries that have been suspended from the programme, “we are asking them to come in and speak to any of our social workers at our local offices to see how best they can get back on the programme” PATH aims to increase educational achievement and improve health; reduce child labour by requiring an 85 per cent school attendance; reduce current poverty by increasing the value of benefits to the poor and serve as a safety net for poor families.
Approximately 75,000 secondary students benefited from the programme last year.