Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says parents of students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), will now be given monthly cash payments to prepare breakfast and lunch for their children while schools remain closed.
He was speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House on March 27.
Public schools were ordered closed by the Government on March 13 for two weeks, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Since then the closure has been further extended until after the Easter holidays.
Since the shut-down meals have been delivered to schools and at specific drop off points for distribution to PATH students.
The decision to make parents prepare the meals follows calls by the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the Opposition for the distribution to be discontinued and an alternative be found.
“Well, we have heard them and we have decided that because of the journey that they had to take and the cost, that we would add the sum of money for the lunches and the breakfast on the PATH programme and pay that monthly,” the Minister said.
He indicated that the payments will be done through the regional offices and will be communicated to the parents.
“No longer will box lunches be transported to locations where they can be collected, which should be of great relief, I’m sure,” the Minister said.
Mr. Samuda pointed out that over 100,000 students benefit from the PATH feeding programme at a cost of $232 million.