— parents say increase in education grant will enable them to do more for their children

Education is a right for every child and it is the job of every parent to ensure their children get their education; however, notwithstanding this, for many parents, it can often be a struggle affording even the minimum necessities to ensure their children are able to get an education.

Cognisant of the struggle facing some parents, the government has now taken most of that expense out of their hands with a massive increase to the “Because We Care” cash grant and uniform vouchers, which together will see parents receiving $30,000 for each child in 2022.

“The money will assist parents to buy quality school supplies including backpacks and footwear for their children; for the majority of parents, I am sure this increase will mostly cover their kid’s school expenses,” said Priya Persaud, a mother of four, who has three children in primary school.

The $30,000 that parents will be getting this year is an $11,000 increase on what they would have received last year when the “Because We Care” cash grant was $15,000 and the uniform voucher was $4,000.

This year, the government increased the “Because We Care” to $25,000 and the uniform voucher to $5,000 as part of measures to put more disposable income in the hands of parents, as well as to increase school attendance of learners, previously disadvantaged because their parents could not always afford the basic necessities.

For 41-year-old Karen Gontuth, from Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima Waini), it also means that she can afford to give her children even more towards their education. A mother of two secondary students, she is already hopeful of using some of the money to purchase a laptop for her children.

Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle in a telephone interview, Gontuth shared that in the past, she would buy school items for her children in parts as finances became available and it was a struggle.

“How the money come and I get it, so I buy. Sometimes I buy a pair of boots for the boy, next time I buy a pair of shoes,” she shared.

Gontuth, who is a shopkeeper, said she and her husband, who is a farmer, try to get by as best as they can and to ensure their children get an education. She commended the $19,000 that she would have received last year and the support it afforded her.

“It helped a great lot with purchasing their school stuff, especially the books. So now I feel very happy about this increase, because it’s going to help to buy even more. My daughter wants a laptop and I really want to buy one for her,” she shared.

Amounting to an additional $2.2 billion, the increase to the “Because We Care” and uniform vouchers were announced last Wednesday by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, as part of the $74.4 billion allocated to the education sector this year.

The $30,000 will be granted to parents for each child in school and will continue to apply to learners in both private and public schools.

The “Because We Care” project started in 2014 under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government and saw parents receiving cash grants of $10,000 per child in the public school system.

However, when the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) assumed power in 2015, the party discontinued the grant. When the PPP/C returned to government in 2020, they upheld their promise to restore the grant and increase it.

Moreover, while the grant initially catered only for public school learners, the government went on to extend it to private school learners, benefiting an additional 17,000 students.