Education Minister Priya Manickchand has assured parents that the $10,000 cash grants for students will be restarted.
“That is a commitment we made as a political party on the campaign trail. The PPP/C has always honoured its commitment, and it’s one we intend to honour. How we do that is [still being worked out]. We are in a very tight spot economically. We are talking at the Cabinet-level about submissions for the budget,” Minister Manickchand explained.
She noted that in addition to the financial crisis, the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic have been stalling the project.
“[It] requires a distribution to people that sometimes could require a gathering or several gatherings and that is something we are trying to shut down right now. We [would] must consult with health unless we have means of getting the cash grant to parents without them in anyway gathering. So those are some of the issues we have to examine.”
During the campaign trail, the PPP/C had committed to a gradual increase of the cash grant during their five-year term in office. They were hopeful to be able to provide $50,000 per child.
Originally termed ‘Because We Care’ project, in 2014, the cash grants were issued to parents for each child in the public-school system.
After taking office in 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU-AFC) Government, discontinued the grant and displaced thousands of students and parents.
This is a ray of hope for many, as the grants are aimed at providing support to parents and increase their disposable income, while in turn increasing enrollment and attendance rates in schools. This initiative was the first of its kind in the Caribbean Region.
After many calls, by private school parents, to have the project extended to them, Minister Manickchand agreed with the notion, noting that a child attending a private school does not mean the parents do not require financial aid and this will be considered.
After a five-month delay in the elections process, the PPP/C Government is in the process of preparing a National Budget for the rest of the year 2020.
The grants are expected to provide relief for approximately 187,000 students in the system and are, therefore, expected to channel a $1.87Billion allocation. [Extracted and Modified by DPI]