Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 02 December 2010 08:45

50 truants nabbed in Georgetown and Region Three

Some 50 truants from South Georgetown and selected communities in Region Three were nabbed at two separate campaigns conducted last week.

According to the Schools' Welfare Department, 20 of the lot were apprehended in the South Georgetown areas and the remainder in Parika and neighbouring communities in Region Three. The Department pointed out that two of those apprehended in Region Three never attended school and two suspected cases of child abuse were detected as well. The latter cases, it said will be reported to the Child Care Protection Agency. The Department also noted that no case was made out to prosecute the parents of the truants for negligence to educate their children and the parents of those who never attended school were counselled on the importance of educating their children. They were also issued warning letters and letters to visit the Placement Unit in their respective region to obtain a school for their children. The parents of students who did not attend school for a considerable period of time also received similar attention.

Acting Chief School's Welfare Officer, Carol Melville said the truants will be closely monitored to ensure that they do not only attend school but they do so regularly and punctually.

The Ministry of Education has earlier this year taken a decision to prosecute parents who have abandoned their responsibility to educate their children in a bid to send a clear message of its position on this matter. Child employers are also being targeted.

National Truancy Campaign Coordinator, Yvonne Arthur explained that reports from her officers have indicated that poor parenting and parental neglect were the primary causes of truancy and noted that the Schools' Welfare Department so far was able to place 31 children who never attended an institution of learning in school. Some of the truants were referred to the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security's Probation, Child Care and Social Security Departments for assistance. Arthur also called on head teachers to make available to the Schools' Welfare Department the names of students who regularly absent from school and stressed that a child can still be enrolled at a school even though the latter does not have a birth certificate. The former Chief Schools' Welfare Officer explained that while the child is in school, the parent can be advised by a School's Welfare Officer on the way forward to acquire the legal document.

Education Minister Shaik Baksh had earlier this year announced that his Ministry will take a tougher stance against truancy and negligent parents will be placed before the court. He explained that his ministry is moving in this direction because efforts to talk to parents of truants about the importance of educating their children were ineffective. Truancy, he said is a problem in Region Six and other parts of the country and stern action has to be taken to ensure these children not only attend school but receive a sound education and become productive citizens in society. The minister said too that the government is providing free uniform, text books and other forms of support to students and all parents must honour their responsibility to support and educate their children.

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