Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand says parents/ guardians will not be limited to purchasing school items with the Government’s $3.2B Because We Care and school items cash grants.

The Minister told DPI on Sunday that the $19,000 per child grant could be used to purchase a variety of items – as long as the children benefit. She related an encounter with a parent during a public consultation on the Government grants programme to make the point.

“A mother stood up and said that she is going to buy a black tank with her grant because with a black tank, her children can get water in the house, and they don’t have to come out at nights when they are studying to use water downstairs. They would no longer have to get up early in the morning to fetch water upstairs. So, people use it for different sort of reasons, but it will be to the benefit of the children and to the family.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent nationwide flooding have inflicted economic hardships in Guyana. To this end, the Minister stated that it could be used to purchase foodstuff for the home.

“If you use it only for food in this pandemic, it’s for your children. If you use it for data, it’s for your children. I think you can see a wide variety that this can be used for, and I don’t think that we should limit people to saying that it must be used for uniforms.”

Approximately 172,000 public school pupils – from nursery to CAPE students – will benefit from the grants.

“This is not a grant per household; it is a grant per child in the public school system. If you have two children, then you will get $38,000. If you have four children, then it will be $76,000. If you have ten children, and I know people who do, then you get $190,000,” Minister Manickchand said.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Minister noted that a decision was made to award the school uniform and supplies grant in cash rather than the voucher as was previously done. Distribution is set to kick off in five regions this week and is slated to last for the next three weeks.

Parents or guardians are asked to walk with a valid form of identification when uplifting the grants. The acceptable forms of identification are the National Identification Card, driver’s licence or passport. Persons who do not possess any of these documents can still uplift the grant, but their relationship with the child must be confirmed by a senior official in the community or the school’s headteacher.

The distribution schedule will be posted on the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page, the ministry’s website, and in today’s and later editions of the daily newspapers. Parents or guardians are encouraged to visit the respective schools on the scheduled date to uplift the grants.