50 truants nabbed in city and West Coast

Twenty truants from South Georgetown and  some 30 others from selected communities on West Coast Demerara  were nabbed during  two separate campaigns conducted last week, according to the Schools Welfare Department.

The truants on the West Coast were apprehended in  Parika and neighbouring communities in Region Three, the education ministry said in a release.

The Schools Welfare Department said that two of those apprehended in Region Three had never attended school and two suspected cases of child abuse were detected as well and the latter cases will be reported to the Child Care Protection Agency.

However, the department  reported  that no case was made out to prosecute the parents of the truants for negligence in educating their children and the parents of those who had never attended  school were counselled on the importance of educating their children.
The parents of students who did not attend school for a considerable period also received counseling.

Acting Chief Schools 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 earlier this year took a decision to prosecute parents who  abandoned their responsibility to educate their children in a bid to send a clear message  on this matter.  Employers of child labour are also being targeted.

And National Truancy Campaign Coordinator Yvonne Arthur said that reports from her officers have indicated that poor parenting and parental neglect were the primary causes of truancy.

She said also that the Schools Welfare Department so far was able to place 31 children who had never attended an institution of learning.

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 has called on head teachers to make available to the Schools Welfare Department the names of students who regularly absent themselves from school.

A child can still be enrolled at a school even in the absence of a birth certificate, Arthur added.
Education Minister Shaik Baksh earlier this year had announced that his ministry would take a tougher stand against truancy and negligent parents would be placed before the court.

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