Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
The promised increase in benefits under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) has been instituted. However, males continue to receive more money under the social-protection programme.
With the increased benefits, which came into effect on August 15, boys in grades seven to nine will get at least $190 more than females at the same grade levels, while girls in grades one to six will be receiving $85 less than their male classmates.
Boys in grades one to six will receive $950, while females will get $865. Males in grades six to nine may receive between $1,075 to $1,455 per month, while females will receive $1,125.
Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier said this has always been the case.
"By making this slight difference, it is really an incentive to ensure that we get the boys going to school," Kellier said.
He added that this incentive came about after it was recognised that girls were attending schools more than boys over the years.
President of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, Faith Webster, said since the intent is to level the playing field for both genders, the move should not be viewed negatively.
"If it is a case where we are offering incentives or affirmative action to move us closer towards gender equality and to get our boys on par, then it is something to be looked at positively," Webster said.
Yesterday, Kellier announced that PATH benefits for all categories - with the exception of the elderly - would be increased by 15 per cent.
Benefits for the elderly have gone up by 67 per cent. This means that an elderly person who used to receive PATH benefits of $900 per month will now get at least $1,500 monthly.