The Ministry of Education is implementing a database system to track students’ attendance to better detect and remedy absenteeism.
According to Minister of Education Shaik Baksh, the system will enable schools welfare officers to identify truant students and make early interventions to remedy the problem. In the meantime, these officers will be visiting the homes of at-risk and indisciplined students to counsel and guide them to overcome their challenges during the August holidays, a press release said.
Students in difficult circumstances will be advised how to access support from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security. The minister also said he is considering establishing a fund to support needy families to ensure that children attend school. The fund will be under the purview of the Schools Welfare Department.
The ministry has also taken a tougher stance on parents who do not send their children to school. Since the anti-truancy campaign intensified last year, 49 parents have been charged for allowing their children to become truants.
According to the ministry the number of early school leavers at the secondary level is also engaging its attention, however; focus is also being placed on implementing the Secondary Competency Certificate Pro-gramme (SCCP) to address this problem. The SCCP is being taught in 24 secondary schools and at six practical instruction centres. The programme was recently introduced in Grade Nine with the aim of ensuring that any student who drops-out before completing the secondary cycle is equipped with a certificate that will make them employable.
The ministry said students who complete the Grade Nine programme can move to a more advanced level in Grade 10 and eventually write the TVET subjects at the CXC examination.