Jamaican children are entitled to free public education up until the age of 18 and compulsory education lasts from age 6-11. There are no tuition or other fees (i.e. Parent Teacher Association, textbooks, matriculation or assessments) at the primary education level in Jamaica. At the secondary level, some fees (such as PTA fees) exist, but qualified students are eligible for waivers of these fees. The development of the ECD sector hinges largely on private and community based support. However, Government has been playing its part in providing feedings grants and salary subsidies to most institutions that are run by the communities as well as by increasing its presence in the sector.
Jamaica provides some additional public resources to special schools with special needs students (visual, auditory, mobile, cognitive, and socioemotional). Special Education spending amounted USD 8m (JMD 1.2 bn), accounting for 1% of the total Education expenditure in 2016.
The School Feeding Programme that is being implemented by the Ministry of Education ensures that breakfast and/or lunch are provided particularly to needy children in order to facilitate regular attendance and to increase the likelihood of better educational outcomes.
There is no publicly available information on this topic.
Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) (2001-)
It is a World Bank funded conditional cash transfer program managed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS). After a proxy means test and categorical criteria, beneficiaries are registered in Beneficiary Identification System (BIS) for vulnerable populations. Besides cash transfers, it provides free access to school lunch and health services in communities where it operates.
The Education Grants are bi-monthly transfers for families of children aged 6 to 17 years from poor families that are registered in a public school and have a monthly minimum attendance of 85%. The transfer is according to the beneficiary characteristics (amount is 10% higher for men, it increases in up to 50% if the child is enrolled in the first level of secondary education and up to 75% if he/she is enrolled in the higher level of secondary education).
The programme spent USD 54.8 million, 0.37% of GDP, in 2017, reaching to 350,000 beneficiaries (12% of the population) from 113,000 households. The amount of transfer for education grant ranges from USD 5.9 to USD 9.9 and for post education grant ranges from USD 117 to USD 391.