Ministry clears air on School Bursaries

Marcus Edward, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education.

During his April budget presentation, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said the government would be offering one-off bursaries of $500 to parents of eligible students at the start of the school year. Last week, the Ministry of Education announced that the process to making that money available to parents is underway.
According to Education Minister Dr Robert Lewis, a system has been identified for the assessment of applications and subsequent disbursement of funds as early as the first week in August. Dr Lewis says there are funds available for all eligible parents to receive the assistance.
While many parents welcome the availability of the funds, some were still confused as to who was eligible. Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education, Marcus Edward says the funds are available for all parents whose child or children sat the 2012 Common Entrance Examination.
“To be eligible for the bursary, the following criteria must be satisfied by the applicant: One, the student wrote the Common Entrance Examination in 2012. Two, the student will be attending a Secondary School in 2012 because children who return to Primary Schools to repeat Grade 6 are not eligible, however, children who are unassigned and the Ministry is in the process of assigning them will be eligible for the bursary. Thirdly, the parent must request the assistance,” said Edward.
According to the CEO,
the forms are available at the District Education Office in each school district and they will be returned to the Ministry of Education
who will in turn make the cheques available to the parents.
“We are going to start as of the 2nd of August until the 9th of August as we engage in the process of cheque distribution. The distribution will take place according to the Education Districts that we have but mainly we will be using Secondary Schools as a venue for distributing the cheques.”
Edward says the bursary will in no way affect the other support programmes being run by the Ministry of Education.
“The Ministry will continue to run the transportation programme in all secondary schools and also the textbook rental programme that are in the secondary schools. Persons can continue to benefit from these programmes in addition to the $500 grant.”
A little over 2800 students wrote the Common Entrance Examination this year and according to the Education Chief, there are enough funds available for all who are eligible in that number to benefit from the school bursary programme, while some may choose not to access it.

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