$1.8B to be distributed in school supplies cash grant; caters for two terms

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

The Ministry of Education’s School Supplies Cash Grant distribution programme commenced on Monday, as scheduled.

The grant was implemented in September 2023 and is aimed at providing financial relief to teachers, helping to improve and manage classrooms more effectively and getting relevant supplies in a timely manner at a preferred quality.

Under the grant, teachers are given the opportunity to purchase the necessary office, field and janitorial supplies needed for their classrooms.

A total of $1.8 billion will be distributed to schools across the country. This will cover the expenses expected to be incurred for two school terms, the Easter Term and the May/June Term. In coastland schools, schools will receive $4,500 per student per term while in hinterland schools, schools will receive $5,500 per student per term.

In nursery and primary schools along the coast, teachers will be receiving $3,500 per student while $1,000 will remain with the school’s administrative department to offset expenses in common areas. Similarly in Hinterland nursery and primary schools, $4,500 will be given to the teacher and the remaining $1,000 will be used by the school’s administrative department to offset common expenses.

For secondary schools, the monies will be given to Heads of Departments who will then consult with his/her teachers to decide which items are most needed for their departments.

Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand visited the Essequibo Coast to distribute the grant at the Anna Regina Secondary School and the Abram Zuil Secondary School. Meanwhile, other Senior Education Officers fanned out across the coast to distribute the grant also. Auditors were present to ensure the transparency and accountability of the programme as is the case with every other cash grant the for which the Ministry had responsibility.

Delivering brief remarks in Region Two, Minister Manickchand stated suggestions were taken into consideration following the first distribution process to make the implementation of the grant more effective.

She noted that one of the changes made was to the list which guided teachers in their purchases. Minister Manickchand explained that a request was made to the Ministry of Finance to budget the grant under Subvention for Grants which will result in a wider latitude of what can be bought. The other complaint teachers had was that some Head teachers did not give the grant to teachers and bought in bulk what they thought teachers needed which defeated the purpose of the grant. The change this year is to give one sum to the school and another sum to the teacher.

It was noted that to ensure the programme is transparent, teachers are still required to present receipts of their purchases.

Additionally, a memo will be sent out detailing the distribution of the grant.

Upon returning from the Essequibo Coast, Minister Manickchand visited the Central Bank of Guyana where she witnessed the monies for the grant being transferred into the bank accounts of 41 schools across the country.

This is a significant development as previously; most schools did not have a bank account and many teachers were not keen on utilizing the Parent-Teachers’ Association’s bank account to transact business. Some of the schools that received their grants this way are New Campbellville Secondary, Dora Secondary School, Auchlyne Primary School, Patentia Secondary School and Soesdyke #2 Nursery School.

This programme forms part of the government’s commitment to supporting teachers and advancing the provision of high-quality education. The grant’s implementation, together with the other initiatives, has been providing teachers with the tools they need to deliver the curriculum and achieve notable outcomes.