Jamaica Information Service – The Government has earmarked $8.39 billion in budgetary support for high schools for the 2018/19 academic year.
This represents a $435.8-million increase over the previous year, according to Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid.
He was speaking during a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday (July 25).
Senator Reid said operational and social grants allocations will total $3.76 billion, an increase of nearly $50 million.
“This increase can be attributed to the almost 2,400 increase in enrolment for the upcoming year,” he pointed out.
The Minister said allocations for staffing support have also been increased by more than $317 million, and that approximately $292.3 million has been provided for the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), which has been rolled out in all high schools.
“These variations facilitate implementation of our K to 13 programme, ensuring that all students receive a full seven years minimum of high-school education and leave with a skill and improved work-readiness,” he added.
Senator Reid noted that the Government has also increased the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) feeding grant by $43.7 million.
“Infant, All-Age, Primary, and Primary and Junior High Schools receive similar grants to high schools… but also receive financial support for clerical assistance, environmental wardens, water, Internet, janitorial support and security grants as well as support for cooks and canteens,” he indicated.
“The total allocation to be made for the upcoming academic year for these schools across all six regions is $4.22 billion. The first allocation has already been sent to schools and will assist (institutions) to prepare for the upcoming start of the 2018/19 academic year in September,” he added.
Senator Reid said another three tranches will follow throughout the course of the academic year.
He noted that the PATH accounts for the largest allocation to Infant, All-Age, Primary, and Primary and Junior High Schools, standing at $2.23 billion for 2018/19.
Another $323.1 million is budgeted for cooks’ support, while $306.6 million has been allocated for infrastructure and maintenance.
Regular grants, totalling $583.7 million, have been allocated, in addition to the other areas listed.
The Ministry provides grants to high schools for furniture; infrastructure; maintenance; special tourism programmes in some schools (newly introduced this year); science; information and communications technology; staffing; PATH feeding programmes; CAP; transportation (in the form of the Rural Bus Pilot Programme); industrial technology; home economics, as well as computer lab technicians; school support officers, and social premiums and operational grants
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