By Linda Straker
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, September 4, 2019 (CMC) – The Grenada government confirmed, yesterday, that an educational facility, set up to assist young women who have dropped out of school as a result of becoming pregnant, has been forced to shut down, temporarily, as a result of a legal battle.
Education Minister, Emmalin Pierre, said the school would remain closed until there’s a settlement in the legal matter between the present board of directors, who were elected in March this year, and some of those who were voted out the same month.
Members of both parties are refrained from speaking to the media on the court issue.
“The government took a decision that it will make accommodation available for every student currently enrolled at PAM (Programme for Adolescent Mothers) to attend other institutions or other programme,s according to their choice,” Pierre told reporters at the weekly post-Cabinet news conference on Tuesday.
“As it relates to a subvention for PAM, government’s decision is to discontinue the subvention to PAM at this time, so that all matters can be resolved and that a decision on the way forward can be taken,” she also confirmed.
Last Friday, the Ministry of Social Development, which provides an annual subvention of EC$240,000, released a statement indicating that due to the ongoing impasse, the government had made two important decisions as part of steps to safeguard the future of enrolled students.
“Government has been monitoring the situation and has made several attempts to help resolve the issue. However, it has become clear that the present challenges have unduly disrupted the smooth operations of the programme and the quality of education provided for the young mothers,” said the statement.
“Government has therefore decided to make arrangements to provide for the continued education, psychosocial and other needs of the students in PAM, by re-assigning them to other schools and educational institutions,” the statement noted.
Pierre told the media that the Cabinet has also taken a decision to waiver day care fees for the children of students who will have to be placed at another day care facility while the mother is at her new educational facility. PAM also housed a day care for the babies of the students.
The Programme for Adolescent Mothers began in 1994 through the support of UNICEF/UNFPA and the Grenada government. It was an initiative of the Grenada National Coalition for the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) and was managed by GRENSAVE.
In 2011 it became a registered non-governmental organization (NGO) with Terry Charles as its president. Since its establishment, more than 500 young ladies have passed through the programme.
Pierre confirmed that a committee has also been established with a mandate to make recommendations on a programme of support for the PAM students in the future.