Book supply grants to be issued in July

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Book supply grants to be issued in July

The school book and supply grant promised in the 2024 Budget will soon be issued to parents before the current school term closes in July.

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, revealed during yesterday’s Standing Finance Committee meeting in Parliament, that approximately half of the 26,967 grant applications received have been deemed satisfactory and the application process will be reopened after the ministry deals with those in hand,

The ministry is among 12 divisions that will receive supplemental funding as part of the mid-year review of the 2024 Budget. Education will get $144,200,000. This covers payment for 14,000 teachers in primary schools, 279 short-term employees, additional staff for processing backpay and for school security.

UNC MP Barry Padarath, noting the $1,000 grant for school supplies and books, asked how many of the targeted 65,000 students would have benefited if supplementary funds of $20m are now being sought for the project within the ministry’s supplementary funding.

Gadsby-Dolly said the measure was intended to take effect in the new academic year 2024/25, so students would have access to the funds for that academic year.

She said applications for the grant were from April 1-26 and the deadline was extended to April 30.

Gadsby-Dolly added, “To date, in that time we’ve received 26,967 applications which are now being processed. Of those, 10,428 have had all the information provided and been deemed satisfactory. Therefore, based on the applications received, the $20 million should be sufficient to cover those who’d applied.”

She said the ministry intends that before school closes “… we’ll start to make payments to parents. School closes the first week of July”.

Gadsby-Dolly said depending on the number of grants that are given and if they have funds remaining, they will reopen the application process.

“However, we’re first processing what’s in front of us now so that in a timely fashion, we’ll be able to start making payments to applicants and be able to give the grants in good time for the opening of the next school year, which is when they’re intended to come into effect.”