first_img Tweet Share Share EducationLocalNewsPrimarySecondary Social Assistance Program initiated by the Ministry of Education to continue says Minister by: – July 11, 2011 52 Views   no discussionscenter_img Sharing is caring! Share Minister for Education & Human Resource Development Hon. Petter St. JeanIn an exclusive interview with the Honourable Minister for Education Mr. Petter St. Jean he indicated that the Social Assistance Program initiated by the Dominica Labour Party Administration will continue to meet the needs of the less fortunate among us.Every year the Government provides assistance to the less fortunate students in obtaining necessities for the new school term.According to the Minister because of his Government’s belief that every child has a right to education as well as the ability to learn this Social Assistance Program is very essential in meeting that goal. However, the program was implemented specifically to assist the disavantaged and financially challenged families in our society.“The Labour Party Administration believes in the principal of inclusion, we believe also that the masses must be catered for. Aas it relates to education specifically, we are convinced that every child can learn and as such no child should be left behind, hence we make provision for every Dominican child to be at an institution of learning. And having created universal access at secondary education we recognise that there are a number of challenges; one of these being the fact that there are some disadvantaged families that cannot adequately provide for the needs of their children. In that regard the Government has a Social Assistance Program within the Ministry of Education where we seek to ease the financial burdens of the poor and average Dominican family” he said.Mr. St. Jean also higlighted the four main areas in which the Ministry provides this assistance to disadvantaged families, the implementation of the Transfer Grants, Transportation System, National Textbook Scheme and School Uniform Allowance.“First of all we have what you call a transfer grant; that is the Government provides $500.00 for the children who are moving from Primary to Secondary School and we major on those who have financial difficulties. The objective is that these individuals would be assisted in the provision of the basic supplies and uniforms for their children. Secondly we recognize that having created access there are families that face the added challenge of getting these children to the school plants and so we intiated back in 2006 the school transportation system. Right now we have national coverage covering all of the education districts, not every village but every education district. We focus on the areas that are far from the school plants and the Government contracts fifty-one bus drivers, private bus drivers and in addition to that we have ten large size buses that ferry our children to and from the various schools.  We pay for the transportation of these children on a monthly basis thereby assisting the families to the extend that the monies what would have been spent on transporting those children they can use them for other purposes within the family.”Mr, St. Jean also emphasized the importance for students to be properly attired for school and as well well equipped, hence the reason for the implementation of the National Textbook Scheme and the School Uniform Allowance.  We also recognize that some parents have the challenge of providing the necessary textbooks that are used and so in addition to the National Textbook Scheme we have a facility where these disadvantaged families can access assistance for the provision of textbooks to the tune of $200.00 per child. Additionally, we are of the view that in order for students to do well they must have the basic needs and schools place an emphasis on being well cladded in the school uniform. Realizing the challenge the Government of Dominica through the Ministry of Education provides for again disadvantaged financially challenged families a school uniform allowance” he said.The Minister also reminds the public that the School Uniform Allowance is not open to all but caters for the disadvantaged and less fortunate among us.“I need to emphasize that this program specifically targets disadvantaged families. It is not a free and open for all. We are providing for those families that have serious financial difficulties and we want to ensure that their children can get to school and do well because we believe fundamentally that education is not a privilege it is a right of every Dominican child” he said.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img

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