Cashless system for schools launched
Jamaica's first cashless system for schools was officially launched on Monday at St George's College, North Street, downtown Kingston.
The system, to be administered by Alliance Payment Services, will shape the way in which payments are made at schools and positively impact safety policies for students and teachers.
In her remarks, manager, sales and marketing at Alliance Payment Services, Raquel Reid, said the cashless system initiative was aimed at creating a more secure and efficient environment by removing cash transactions from school campuses and providing administrators with real-time financial reports.
"The initiative will see the issuance of an ePay card to all students, who will use the card to make purchases on campus. This will eliminate the need for cash by students and should, therefore, reduce incidents of theft and the associated cases of violence," Reid said.
She noted that under the initiative, parents may add funds to their child's account, while at the same time, facilitating online bill payments by them.
To date, the programme has completed a comprehensive and successful pilot at both Campion College and Immaculate Conception High School.
Improvements were made to the programme based on feedback and consultation with students, parents and school administrators.
The cashless system will be expanded to include Calabar High School and St George's College. Aspects of the programme will also facilitate electronic transactions at Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory and St Andrew Preparatory schools.
... PATH students benefit, too
"With this launch, the cashless programme is now available for implementation in all schools and colleges across Jamaica. We are pleased that the cashless system features great partnership with Victoria Mutual Building Society and Wisynco Foods," manager, sales and marketing at Alliance Payment Services, Raquel Reid said.
For her part, principal of Campion College, Grace Baston, voiced her support for the initiative, noting that the ePay card is used to allow students to purchase meals at the canteen.
"Quite appropriately, we also integrate our Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and welfare students into the programme, so that they too have cards to purchase meals. So, you cannot, at Campion, tell the difference between a PATH student transaction and any other transaction," Baston said.
Meanwhile, president of the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ), Everton Hannam, also endorsed the initiative.
"The NPTAJ is committed to working with our schools, parents and administrators to ensure that we cultivate the safest possible environment for our students. In the face of this, the NPTAJ believes that the cashless school initiative, if rolled out universally and becomes ubiquitous, will provide a platform of safety, prevent theft, campus bullying and the violence associated with these events," Hannam said.
The launch of the cashless school initiative at St George's College follows the successful implementation of the tertiary leg of the programme at The Mico University College in 2016.