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JAMAICA | Increase PATH payment to Parents instead of food to kids

Shadow Minister of Education, Peter Bunting, is imploring the Ministry of Education (MOE) to discontinue the wasteful and inefficient process of delivering food items (for nutritional support) to schools in the face of extended closures. Shadow Minister of Education, Peter Bunting, is imploring the Ministry of Education (MOE) to discontinue the wasteful and inefficient process of delivering food items (for nutritional support) to schools in the face of extended closures.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 21, 2020:  Shadow Minister of Education, Peter Bunting, is imploring the Ministry of Education (MOE) to discontinue the wasteful and inefficient process of delivering food items (for nutritional support) to schools in the face of extended closures.

Principals are being required to collect and distribute these packages to parents and students across parishes. These deliveries are being made on a haphazard basis, at inappropriate hours.

One primary school principal expressed surprise that, with no students in attendance, the school is now receiving its first delivery of food items from the Ministry since the start of the school year.

 Last Tuesday in Parliament, Mr. Bunting appealed to the Prime Minister (and Minister of Education) to suspend the delivery of food items to schools and instead provide a sum to their parents to cover the nutritional support already budgeted for each child for the coming six weeks.

This amount would be added to the PATH payments already being distributed to parents in the normal course of business, and so would be a very efficient method of distribution. This approach would remove the burden of physical distribution from principals and school administrators, while enabling parents to provide nutritious meals for their children in the safety of their homes.

The Prime Minister in responding to Mr. Bunting’s suggestion, indicated that the Ministry would embark along this sensible path, if they had not already done so. However, up to late Friday afternoon, food items were being delivered to schools for principals to deliver to students.

 Mr Bunting said, “I have been receiving complaints about food packages being dropped off at schools and left unattended as administrators are not being notified ahead of time.

This whole process is also grossly inefficient, as the cost to collect or deliver the food package can exceed the value of its typical contents - a Nutri Bulla, small boxed milk, and water.”

It is not beyond us to find an efficient solution, and the Opposition stands ready to assist the government and the MOE to formulate a sensible policy.

  • Countries: Jamaica

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