Ministry of Education launches financial aid program for high school students

Patrick Faber

With the teachers rallies now concluded, the Ministry of Education is launching a financial aid program for students enrolled in secondary schools.  Following an extensive review of the sector, the program was launched as a collaborative effort between MOE and the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation and is incentive-based.  According to Faber, potential beneficiaries of financial assistance are being screened based on performance, as well as socioeconomic needs.  The rollout, he says, is seven years in the making and revolves around an objective means of helping high school students to complete secondary education.

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Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Our two ministries support each other. The proxy means test or the household survey that will be used to identify beneficiaries for all of these reforms was developed by the Ministry of Human Development. Rather than develop and implement our own, we in the Ministry of Education have partnered with the Ministry of Human Development. We get to identify the beneficiaries of our programs while they get a wider pool of potential beneficiaries for other social safety net programs. In addition we provide support to the Ministry of Human Development in verifying school attendants of the beneficiaries of the boost initiative. I wish to return, my friends, to my initial point about the philosophical underpinnings of these reforms; that is the principle of equity, the philosophy of social justice. I wish to quote from an email written by our Chief Education Officer, Mister Christopher Aird, on our need for examination our education system to create a more socially just one. I do this because I think that the points he makes are honest, sobering and demand our action if we say that we are about social justice and equity and if we are truly for national development that excludes no one. I quote, “It is understood that the expansion of access to secondary education is limited by the lack of availability of sufficient financial resources to simply create more school spaces. And even if such resources were easily available, the sustainability of an expanded system will depend on a rationalized and equitable financing formula. Even as the current system continues to be unsustainable, inequitable and itself places severe limitations on expansion. In any case, alternative methods of expanding access to secondary education can be implemented provided that there is an openness by the prevailing system to make adjustments, to reassess traditional policies and the positions and to recognize its rooted involvement in the prevailing structured exclusion that may link to the social consequences now plaguing the nation. The resistance to reexamining the role and impact the prevailing system can have on fundamental and meaningful change, in the way we serve the educational need of our exclude children can be described as structural violence.” End quote. Ladies and gentlemen social justice is as social justice does.”

The financial aid program is scheduled to come into effect in 2015.

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