Fiji’s Back-to-School Support program, which has already assisted over 223,000 students in the current school year, will continue into the 2024 academic year.
Minister for Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Professor Biman Prasad says that for the upcoming school year, the Fijian Government anticipates assisting more than 220,000 students, from early childhood education to year 13, who come from families with a combined annual gross household income of $50,000 or less.
To facilitate the program, the government has allocated $45 million in the 2023-2024 budget. In its 2023 edition, the Back to School Support program assisted 223,475 students, with a total payout of $44.7 million.
Parents and guardians can obtain hardcopy application forms from their child’s school or download them from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance websites.
Application Period and Disbursement
Applications for the program will open on Monday, 6 November 2023, and remain open until Friday, 22 December 2023.
The Ministry of Finance will begin disbursing payments on 10 January 2024, giving parents and guardians more than two weeks to prepare their children for the upcoming school year, scheduled to begin on January 29, 2024.
Streamlined Process for Some Families
For families whose children currently receive subsidised transportation assistance, the application process has been streamlined. They do not need to complete the full application form, especially the income verification section, as their income criteria have already been verified.
Completed application forms must be submitted to schools for verification and updating. A separate application form is required for each student. It is essential for parents and guardians to double-check the accuracy of the information they provide, especially details like phone numbers, as incorrect information can delay the verification process.
All payments under the Back-to-School Support program will be made through mobile money platforms, including M-Paisa and Digicel’s My Cash platforms. For students living in maritime islands, the government will make payments via the nearest post office or agency.