Wed | Aug 21, 2019

CAP funds stall - MOE says cash may take time to reach Campion’s account; other schools affected

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:16 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Education (MOE) last week failed to deliver on its promise to hand over millions in outstanding payments for the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) to Campion College.

The matter came to public attention last Thursday, when a parent, who had been waiting for several months to receive a $40,000 tuition grant payment under the programme, turned to The Gleaner after her child had graduated from the St Andrew-based school without any word on when the funds would be paid.

Campion College Principal Grace Baston said the school had received an initial amount of $400,000 towards the $3.6 million in CAP payments due from the ministry last December. That payment was towards the $1.6 million tuition cost for the batch of 40 sixth-formers.

Last month, a further $675,901.88 was received under a different caption, and she thought those funds were for the overall CAP allowance and would have still been short of the $1.6 million in any event. The school decided to hold on to the funds pending full payment in order to avoid a conflict of having to select which students would receive disbursements from the part payment.

The ministry then promised to deliver the outstanding amounts by Friday, but up to yesterday, our checks revealed that Campion College was still in waiting mode.

Baston said having made further checks with her bursar, the school’s bank balance had not changed since she spoke to The Gleaner last Friday, but the ministry had informed her that it was “really working hard at it”.

“So the answer is no,” Baston said in relation to the payment.

When contacted, Colin Steer, director of corporate communications at the ministry, sought to explain the delay.

“The remaining amount for Campion College was paid on Friday, July 19, 2019 to the Accountant General’s Department to be uploaded to the school’s account. Depending on which bank schools have their accounts with, it may take a day or two for the processing to be completed,” he said.

“I am thankful for the intervention of The Gleaner,” one of the disgruntled parents commented on the developments. “Things seem to be shaping up since the story came out. We (parents) have been waiting for eight months and kept getting the runaround. That $40,000 will come in very handy. My child worked really hard for it. I was gonna go up there Friday, but said let me wait til Monday (yesterday).”

The Gleaner understands that other schools are also having issues with CAP payments. However, some administrators have chosen to deal with the matter privately out of fear that their institutions could be victimised.

CAP, which was started in 2010, provides technical, vocational and educational training and certification for young people, ages 16 to 18, who have completed secondary education.

The Gleaner understands that the programme now falls under the office of the chief education officer.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com