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Ministry to consider extending PATH transportation benefit to more rural schools

Published:Wednesday | June 14, 2017 | 1:47 PMJovan Johnson

The Labour and Social Security Ministry says it will determine over the summer whether to increase the number of rural schools benefiting from the transportation subsidy under the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH).

Permanent Secretary in the ministry Collette Roberts Risden told Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) this morning that 35 schools currently benefit.

Under the programme, the ministry selects the schools which in turn propose the students who will get the subsidy based on their attendance records.

PATH is run out of the Labour and Social Security Ministry and children have to meet a set attendance requirement to get benefits. 

The transportation programme was piloted in 2014 before it was implemented in November last year for the current school year, which ends next month.

The ministry said the results of the pilot showed that of 228 students who participated, some 181 showed improvement in their attendance.

The project director explained that the positive result is why the programme was implemented last year and will be under consideration for expansion when the new school year starts in September.

However, the permanent secretary said the evaluation will include discussions with the education ministry which is also considering a rural school transportation system. 

Meanwhile, Roberts Risden said children in participating schools cannot be removed from the list unless the schools advise that the students exceed 18 years or have left that particular institution.

Some $115 million is in the budget this fiscal year for the programme.

PAAC chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill told the ministry to submit documents by September on the evaluation and any changes.