Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Justice was served, says relieved parent, as Campion cash flows

Published:Wednesday | August 14, 2019 | 12:06 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

The parent of a former Campion College student who waited several months to collect a $40,000 sixth-form tuition grant is breathing a sigh of relief after the Ministry of Education made good on its promise to hand over the funds.

In July, the parent had complained to our news team that her daughter was among a batch of 40 sixth-formers at the St Andrew-based institution awarded the grant under the Career Advancement Programme (CAP).

The school had ordered the parents to pay the $40,000 as it awaited the disbursement of the funds from the ministry, after which the parents would be reimbursed. While some resisted for months, they eventually had to pay the fees to ensure that their children could participate in the graduation ceremony.

But even at the close of the school year, there was no word on when the school would be able to refund the money.

Following a Gleaner story bringing the matter to light, the ministry promised to pay over the outstanding funds within hours.

Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday, the parent was happy that the money had finally been paid over.

“I am glad justice was served. I feel relieved they honoured the claim that was made to the students and now it is a good example. The children, based on their performance, were promised this grant. Parents like myself wanted it to offset costs. Every dollar counts, and leaving Campion to go to a higher institution, every dollar counts,” she said.

No regrets

With the education ministry being embroiled in a high-level corruption probe, the parent said she was compelled to bring her grouse to the public.

“I have no regrets that this was in the public domain. Had it not been in the media, it would have been swept under the carpet – not that Campion wasn’t doing anything. They were waiting on the ministry,” she said.

Campion College principal Grace Baston had previously explained to The Gleaner that while the school had received part of the $1.6 million due in CAP payments from the ministry, the school decided against crediting the funds to some students and instead waited until all the monies were received.

“In December 2018, we did receive $400,000 from the ministry for the CAP tuition. That is $400,000 of the promised $1.6 million. With that $400,000, we could not have started to disburse. Who would we choose?” Baston said last month.

She said a further $675,901.88 was received from the ministry on June 17. However, there were questions around that second allotment, as it was done under a different subject heading than the first CAP instalment.

The parent told The Gleaner that the issue was not solely about the money, as it was important to set an example for her child.

“My daughter is now happy. She was a bit worried. I had to set an example for her. You don’t just take things like that. Demand justice from the Government when things like these happen. Justice was served,” she added.

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.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com