Govt ‘actively considering’ extending cash grant to private schools – VP Jagdeo

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo MP says the Government is ‘actively examining’ the possibility of extending the ‘Because We Care’ cash grant to children in private schools. 

During an interview last Friday with the Guyanese Critic, the Vice President said, “maybe not all of the parents would take it, but some parents have been making the solid case that they struggle at home to send their kids to private schools; it is not as though they are rich.” 

Vice President Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo

The Vice President’s comments come in the wake of calls by parents of private school students for the initiative, which is currently for public school students to be extended to their children. 

“We have asked the Ministry of Education to assess how many children attend private schools. The Education Ministry is trying to identify all of the numbers … Government will consider all the facts on this issue, and we will make a determination very soon,” the VP assured. 

Dr. Jagdeo reaffirmed the PPP/C Government’s commitment to increasing the children’s school grant to $50,000 over the next four years. The $19,000 per child initiative (which includes a $4,000 grant for school uniforms and supplies) is the first tranche of this commitment, he noted. 

“If we can afford all sorts of things, then we can afford to give back the children this money, and that is the PPP/C’s priority, the children of Guyana. We are happy to do this because it is assisting families.” 

Parents collecting the cash grants for their children at Cotton Field, Essequibo Coast

The Vice President said the Government is carrying out the $3.2 billion exercise without touching the revenue in the Sovereign Wealth Fund. The Fund currently holds over US$340 million from the sale of Guyana’s oil. 

The previous PPP/C Government introduced the ‘Because We Care’ initiative in 2014 at $10,000 per child. But the programme was APNU/AFC administration discontinued it the following year. Upon returning to the office, the PPP/C Government increased the grant to $15,000 while doubling the school uniform and supplies voucher from $2,000 to $4,000 and issuing it in cash. Approximately 172,000 students are to benefit from the $3.2 billion programme.

Last week, Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand, along with the Minister of Local and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall and the Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharat launched the distribution in Region Two.  Distribution continues in Regions Five, Six and Ten this week.

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