Ministry to intensify anti-truancy campaign
Guyana Chronicle
January 6, 2002

THE Education Ministry will intensify its campaign against truancy in the new school term starting tomorrow, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hydar Ally announced yesterday.

He told the Chronicle the campaign started in the latter part of last year mainly in Georgetown, will now be extended to rural and hinterland communities.

The drive has definitely impacted positively on society and there is evidence already which shows improved school attendance since it started, he reported.

Ally said he has been "gratified by the response of the public to the campaign", adding that many people have called to say it should have started a long time ago.

He is also heartened by the supportive efforts of other agencies like the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, the Police, the City Council and parents and the general public, adding that the campaign has turned out to be more of a collaborative effort.

Ally said unlike in the past, a pro-active approach to truancy is being pursued and in this regard some new measures will be introduced during this year. One has already been implemented - the appointment of a Schools Welfare Officer in every region, whose responsibility is to coordinate welfare programmes within their respective regions, he said.

In addition, the Education Ministry is considering appointing a teacher in every school with responsibilities for welfare matters, he said.

Ally said the curbing of truancy is crucial to national development, noting that the denial of education has a huge cost in terms of retarding the national developmental process.

The Permanent Secretary also pointed out that during this year improved management and accountability of individual schools will be vigorously pursued.

He explained that if the schools are managed more effectively and efficiently, the difficulties arising in the national education system will be reduced, ultimately leading to an overall improvement in educational standards.

As part of the programme to improve management and accountability in schools, administrators will be trained in management and accounting skills.

He said management and accountability in schools will not be limited to the delivery of the curriculum, but will include financial matters as well. He said several instances of financial irregularities have been uncovered in schools.

A pilot project for training school administrators is ongoing in Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) under the Guyana Basic Education Teacher Training programme. When this project is completed it will be modified and replicated for training of school administrators in other regions, Ally said.

A draft paper on discipline in schools is also being prepared by the ministry to deal with this problem which has been of concern to parents and members of the public, he added. (CHAMANLALL NAIPAUL)