Distribution of $3.2B education cash grant begins this week
…172,000 students to benefit
Government through the Education Ministry will commence distribution of the “Because We Care” cash grant this week, an initiative which will see $3.2 billion being expended to assist students within the public school system.
The Ministry announced on Saturday that along with the grant, which is valued at $15,000, students will also receive the school uniform and supplies grant valued at $4000. This gives a total of $19,000 for each child.
Some 172,000 students are expected to benefit from this programme, and unlike last year, the school uniform grant will not be given in the form of a voucher but rather as cash.
The schedule for distribution will be posted on the Education Ministry’s Facebook page, the Ministry’s website today and in the daily newspapers (See Guyana Times pages 20, 21 &22).
“Parents or guardians of children in the public school system from nursery to secondary level are to visit the respective schools on the scheduled date to uplift the grant. If a parent or guardian fails to uplift the grant on the scheduled date, they will be allowed to do so at a later date at the Department of Education for that region or education district,” a statement from the Ministry said on Saturday.
This later date will be announced at another time but will be after the entire exercise has been concluded. Parents or guardians are also asked to walk with a valid form of identification when going to uplift the grant. The acceptable forms of identification are the national identification card, driver’s license or passport. Persons who do not possess any of these documents can still uplift the grant but their relationship to the child must be confirmed by a senior official in the community or the school’s Head Teacher.
The statement noted that the Education Ministry “aims to serve each child before September 2021. This initiative of the Government of Guyana is to provide assistance to families so that they can provide the necessary resources to their children so that they can not only remain in school but to also excel in their studies.”
Distribution will start on Wednesday in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) at the Cotton Field Secondary, Anna Regina Secondary, Taymouth Manor Primary, Fisher Primary, Suddie Primary, Riverstown Primary, Aurora Primary and Tapakuma Lake Primary. The initiative then moves to Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) on July 25.
In the National Budget passed in March, Government had increased the school uniform and supplies Grant from $2000 to $4000, representing a 100 per cent increase.
“We encourage all parents and guardians to uplift the grants and use it in the best interest of their children as we work together to give those who will be the leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to be the best that they can be,” the missive concluded.
The “Because We Care” project was launched back in 2014 by then Education Minister Priya Manickchand and was issued to parents for each child in the public school system. It was implemented with the aim of providing support to parents with school-age children and increasing their disposable income, with a view to raising enrolment and attendance rates.
However, after taking office in 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government scrapped the project and displaced thousands of students and parents. The Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government reintroduced the initiative after taking office last year.
President Ali had said last year that there must be measures aimed at ensuring that every child can access education as well as equipping the education sector to become potential export earners for Guyana. He noted that in order to achieve that, mechanisms ought to be put in place so as to encourage investment into the sector.
On that note, he also announced that his Government would completely eradicate the corporate tax on private education in an effort to reduce the cost.
In the $383 billion budget this year, some $60.7 billion was allocated for the education sector – representing over 16 per cent of the previous year’s chunk.