Ministry of Education, Guyana

Wednesday, 08 June 2011 10:58

21 truants nabbed in latest campaign

21 truants nabbed in latest campaignSome 21 truants were apprehended in a recent campaign conducted in the Cummings Lodge Squatting area and Ogle, East Coast Demerara.

The team headed by Georgetown Schools Welfare Officer (SWO) Sharon Harris included officials from  the Education and Human Services and Social Security Ministries and a group of University of Guyana (UG) students. They also made spot checks at game shops in Campbellville.

According to Harris, the exercise sought to sensitise negligent parents of their responsibilities to educate their children and to ensure school aged children attend school regularly and punctually.

She noted that of the 21 children apprehended, 11 were girls between the ages of six and 12, while the others were boys within the age range of nine and 14.

The SWO disclosed that there was one case of sexual molestation which was promptly reported to the Human Services and Social Security Ministry.

Harris noted too that there was one case in which the parents slept the entire morning and the child was left unattended and could not attend school.

The parents of the child, she said were issued a letter to visit the Schools Welfare Department at 68 Brickdam, Georgetown.

She pointed out that the parents of the other children were counselled and the Schools Welfare Department will be closely monitoring the truants to ensure they attend school regularly and punctually.

The welfare officer stated too that during the campaign, persons were informed of the purpose of the exercise and the services offered by the Schools Welfare Department.

Fliers designed by the Schools Welfare Department were also distributed to individuals, groups, homes and shops, Harris said.

The Education Ministry has 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.

Reports from SWOs have indicated that poor parenting and parental neglect were the primary causes of truancy. The Schools Welfare Department has so far been able to place a number of children who never attended school in an institution of learning.

National Truancy Coordinator Yvonne Arthur had called on headteachers 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 Schools Welfare Officer on the way forward to acquire the legal document.

Education Minister Shaik Baksh had 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 some parents about the importance of educating their children were ineffective.

He added that stern action has to be taken to ensure that every child attends school, receives a sound education and becomes a productive citizen 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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