A date has finally been set for the commencement of the distribution of the Government-assured $10,000 cash grant. According to information coming out of the Ministry of Education, the first bout of the distribution will commence
tomorrow in Bartica.
The inaugural cash grant is one that was announced by Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, when he presented the National Budget to the nation earlier this year. Since the announcement, several parents have been eagerly anticipating the availability of the grant which will translate to $10,000 per child attending public schools.
In order to facilitate the distribution of the grant, the Ministry of Education has crafted strict guidelines to ensure an efficient distribution process. The grant is expected to aid the schooling of children at the nursery, primary and secondary levels.
Because of logistical measures that were required to be put in place ahead of the distribution process, the Ministry of Education in a statement issued Wednesday confirmed that the ‘We care cash grant initiative’ is set to be launched on October 11, 2014.
According to the Ministry, parents, other family members or guardians of children are asked to pay close attention to the distribution schedule, along with the list of distribution sites which will be published weekly in the newspapers, to ensure that those concerned do not miss their opportunity to uplift the grant.
According to the Ministry, the only eligibility criteria required to benefit from the grant is that children must be on the register of a public school. For this reason, every class in every school across Guyana was asked to submit a list of the students on their current 2014/2015 Register.
Head teachers were also instructed to verify the lists submitted by class teachers and added to this, Regional Education Officers were instructed to further verify those lists submitted by schools in their Regions.
Moreover, it was noted in the statement that “the Ministry of Education therefore shall be constrained to distribute vouchers only to parents/guardians of children who appear on the list compiled by the school and submitted to Central Ministry…”
However, consideration will be given in cases where an interest is expressed and children are accepted into schools during the course of the school year, once they are within the stipulated age range. This, of course, is in accordance with the Ministry’s acceptance policy.
According to the Ministry’s statement, Regional Education Officers have observed that since the submission to Central Ministry of the list of eligible children, new children have been enrolled and will now be on the register. As such, this year has seen even larger numbers of late registration than before, because of the promised cash grant.
Another unorthodox basis for issuing of the cash grant could also be linked to the inadvertence and/or negligence on the part of teachers, head-teachers and/or education officers, to omit the names of children who are presently enrolled in school and therefore eligible to receive the cash grant.
Further still, the statement pointed out that Government is of the considered view that children should not suffer for the failures/inadvertence of adults, whether that failure/inadvertence caused their non-registration or exclusion from the list.
Added to this it was noted that every child on the school’s Register who is registered any date prior to October 10, 2014 will be entitled to receive the grant.
Moreover, at the distribution venues, a separate registration will be done of any child who is registered but is not on the list supplied to the Ministry. But in order for this to be done, the Ministry noted that information such as the name of the child, name of the school, head-teacher’s name, contact information of the parents/guardians, reason for the child not being on the list supplied to the Ministry of Education, among other details, will be required. The gathered information will be verified and a $10,000 cash voucher will later be delivered to the home of the child by the relevant Head-teacher, teacher and/or Regional Education Officer.
In order for the parents/guardians to uplift the cash grant for children whose names have already been submitted, they will have to present themselves at the scheduled distribution venue. They will be expected to present a valid means of identification such as their National Identification card, passports or driver’s licences.
The parent/guardian will then receive a cash grant voucher, after which they would be asked to sign or mark a document indicating that they have received same. They will then be able to en-cash the voucher at any Western Union/Bill Express across Guyana, a process that will require them to present a valid identification document.
The Ministry, in its statement, has also cautioned parents/guardians that they must seek to uplift their vouchers on the date outlined, since vouchers will not be left at schools for later distribution.
“If a parent/guardian misses the scheduled delivery date, and wishes to benefit from the programme that parent/guardian will have to attend the Regional Education Office to uplift the voucher on another date to be announced later,” the statement clearly outlined.
As explained by the Minister of Finance when he presented the 2014 National Budget, the cash grant programme is meant to provide more support to parents with school-age children in order to increase their disposable income and also to help increase the enrolment and attendance rates.
“This is in fact the first programme of its kind in the Caribbean and indeed anywhere else in this part of the world where every public school child is entitled to this benefit,” the Ministry’s statement pointed out.
“Cognisant of Article 13 of the Constitution of Guyana, which recommends inclusionary democracy, and because of the Government’s deep commitment to making decisions based on the desires of the people of Guyana, the Ministry of Education engaged in consultations across Guyana to hear from Guyana’s parents what systems they believe would serve them best.
“More than 55 public consultations were held where a number of questions were examined including: whether parents would prefer to be able to receive cash or exchange a voucher for foods in the manner that the uniform voucher programme is currently operated; and if en-cashing were the preferred option, which service would parents prefer to use to be able to en-cash their vouchers. Choices ranged from the Banks, Mobile Money, Western Union/Bill Express, the Post Office, MoneyGram.
“Almost unanimously parents chose to receive cash as opposed to goods and an overwhelming majority chose to be able to encash at Western Union/Bill Express money services. Where, geographically, there is a limitation of financial services, different arrangements will be put in place,” the statement concluded.
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