Fri | Nov 27, 2015

Senators clash over whether Gov't should fund PATH beneficiaries' tertiary studies

Published:Saturday | February 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM

A PROPOSAL from opposition senator, Ruel Reid, that the State should pay the full economic cost of tertiary education for persons who have been on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) at the secondary level has been shot down by a government senator.

Wensworth Skeffery, who brought a motion to the Senate floor proposing far-reaching changes for teacher training in Jamaica, said he could not support Reid's suggestion as it does not place sufficient responsibility on beneficiaries.

"I am of the view that when it comes to those persons on PATH, those poor people, once you were registered on PATH in a secondary school and you qualify to go to any university in Jamaica that is controlled by Government, the Government should pay the full cost of that training," Reid said.

PATH is a conditional cash-transfer programme in which the Government delivers relief benefits by way of cash grants to the most needy and vulnerable in the society.

Reid argued that the fact that persons are on PATH means they cannot afford tertiary education and, therefore, taxpayers should bear the full cost of ensuring they benefit from tertiary training.

But Skeffery, whose motion to transform the education system Reid was contributing to, said he could not support the proposal.

"What I propose, a percentage in grant and percentage in loan from the SLB (Students' Loan Bureau). Guarantee them total access. They must have a sense of responsibility and a sense of national pride and ensure they get work and pay back the loan," Skeffery said.