Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 21 June 2018 09:24

Schools’ Welfare Dept. launches database to track, assist at-risk children

The Ministry of Education’s Schools’ Welfare Department has launched a database to cater to the needs of children who have been affected or might be at risk of some social ills.

According to information released by the Ministry, the system will see the use of standardized forms that will collect information on a range of social and welfare issues affecting children. The collected data will then allow the Schools’ Welfare Services to be better equipped.
The database will collect information from the eleven educational districts through the assistance of school welfare officers. The system is set to improve communication between the Schools’ Welfare Services, Regional officers, and counsellors.
At the launching of the database held at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), yesterday, Chief Education Officer (CEO), Marcel Hutson said the initiative will provide the Ministry with invaluable information and statistics that will inform the crafting of policies to assist affected children.
He noted that the database is a small step taken towards transforming the education system. He hailed the database launch as a timely one, since the role of the Schools’ Welfare Department is integral to the overall success of the MoE.
Hutson further explained that the database will ensure that decisions taken are rooted in statistics and this will guarantee that the necessary psychosocial and other support is provided for children and their families by the relevant agencies.
The CEO emphasized the necessity for support mechanisms to assist affected children in confronting social and other issues.
Meanwhile, in her address to the gathering, Chief Schools’ Welfare Officer (CSWO) Ms Glenna Vyphius said that the initiative was birthed at a retreat held some time ago for welfare officers.
The CSWO said that the database was developed through assistance and technical support provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Vyphius noted that previously the work of the Schools’ Welfare Department was partially stymied owing to the lack of access to basic information. She said that the data is necessary for the correct support to be provided to at-risk children.
According to Vyphius, issues such as truancy, drug use, teenage pregnancy and absenteeism will be addressed with the realization of such a database.
She said too that the information gathered will not only be used by the Education Ministry, but other agencies such as the Ministries of Public Health and Social Protection. The latter can utilise the data to provide the necessary support and guidance to affected children.
In her remarks, UNICEF’s Representative Michelle Rodrigues said that it is important that the data is collected properly. She believes that it will serve as an agent for positive change. “Making use of the data and understanding it is very important,” Rodrigues emphasised.
Further, Rodrigues said it is important for the Schools ‘Welfare Department to know what is happening and where it is happening, and what role that department can play in assisting affected children.


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