Minister of Education Shaik Baksh said the school drop-out rate is now half that of that recorded five years ago, at a rally for students to honour schools in Georgetown that have achieved a 98% attendance rate.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the minister said all education districts have recorded increased attendance rates and over the last five years there has been an upward trend. In his address to students at the rally, which was hosted by the Schools Welfare Department, he said, “By attending school regularly you will be able to complete the curriculum which has been specifically designed for each level of the education system.” The drop out rate is now six per cent.
Baksh also said from the start of the school year transportation has been provided for students on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway to ensure that they are punctual and attend school regularly. This programme will be expanded to include other schools, he said.
This year is the first time that nursery schools have been awarded. The awardees are Starters, Houston, Alexander Village, South Ruimveldt Park, Albouys-town and St Gabriel nursery schools; Smith’s Memorial, Tucville, South Ruimveldt, JE Burnham, St Ambrose and Enterprise primary schools and Central, North George-town, St Joseph, Ascension, Cummings Lodge, Bishops High, Christ Church and New Campbellville secondary schools. Plaques were presented to South Road Nursery, St Margaret’s Primary and St Stanislaus College for their outstanding attendance rates.
Newly appointed ACEO- Primary – Marcel Hutson said the ministry celebrates the excellence in attendance and punctuality and believes that schools should be rewarded. “Regular school attendance and punctuality are critical to the development and education of children… if the child is not in school some of the social skills cannot be crafted,” he said.
He then encouraged all students to stay in school as poor attendance and lateness affects the whole school as students fall behind and extra time and attention from the teacher is required to bring them up to the set class level.
In the light of this, the ministry is urging parents and teachers to do everything necessary to ensure students attend school punctually and regularly.
Baksh said while there has been an increase in the rate of student attendance the ministry expects the same to obtain for teachers, in keeping with the 90 per cent attendance rate it has set. The rally was part of a roster of activities planned for Education Month.