KINGSTON, Jamaica -- An Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study has found that enrollment in the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) leads to better high school placement for boys when compared to boys of similar socio-economic status who are not participating in the programme.
According to the recent study, “higher school performance resulted in PATH urban male beneficiaries being placed in higher quality schools relative to similar children who did not participate in the program.” The study found that PATH urban male beneficiaries who took the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) over the period from 2010-2014 performed better on the test, scoring 16.03 points, or 3.6%, higher than non-beneficiaries. As a result, they were placed in better secondary schools. More specifically, PATH’s urban boys were placed in schools whose GSAT combined score was higher by 11.81 points.
Therese Turner-Jones, the IDB’s country representative for Jamaica and general manager for the IDB Caribbean Country Department, commented on the study’s findings: “This is positive news. The fact is that now more than ever boys need strategic and effective social intervention programmes in order to ensure that they have the best chance for success and improve their overall educational and life outcomes. I am delighted that the PATH programme is reaping real success for boys in Jamaica.”
Interestingly, no statistically significant result was found for girls’ school placement. The study however points out that in general, girls outperform boys in all subject areas. The study revealed that “Girls’ language arts and communication GSAT scores exceeded the boys’ scores by about 8 percentage points. In terms of the GSAT combined standard score, girls outperformed boys by 21.28 points.”
Since PATH was launched in 2002, the IDB has provided over US$195 million in loans and grants to the programme. A key part of the reform of Jamaica’s social safety net, PATH has the double objective of alleviating current poverty while fostering human capital development among beneficiary households’ children. In contrast to many other conditional cash transfer programs, PATH also targets the elderly and individuals with disabilities. PATH’s mandate is therefore in keeping with the IDB’s vision to improve lives in the Caribbean by creating vibrant economies where people are safe, productive, and happy.