Truancy campaigns are successful, more shortly
September 15, 2003
THE Truancy Campaign launched by the Ministry of Education has been a success said Coordinator of the Schools Welfare Programme Ms Yvonne Arthur in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The Schools Welfare Service is presently streamlining the plan of action for September to December. The plan is to have at least two campaigns each month. The exact date for the next campaign date will be announced shortly.
According to Arthur, children know that loitering will get them into trouble, so “the programme is catching on.”
The common problems revealed by the campaigns were negligence and the persuasion of friends not to attend school. There are instances however, where parents do not see a child’s attendance to school as necessary, but these may be linked to financial constraints among other things in the home.
Welfare Officers counsel students and meet with parents to access the situation with children who do not attend school regularly.
It is the regular duty of Welfare Officers to visit schools, hospitals and homes, check attendance registers and attend meetings of Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) among other duties.
The Ministry of Education has also ensured that there are active School Welfare Services in all Regions. Officers in these Regions design strategies every month to deal with truancy and other matters relating to student welfare.
There are reports from schools and agencies of increases in the numbers of children attending schools due to the campaign that was launched by the Ministry of Education.
Another indication of the positive change in school attendance is the number of persons applying for birth certificates so that their children may attend school.
The Truancy campaign is a strategy created by Ms. Arthur to support the efforts of Welfare Officers who visit homes regularly in an effort to understand the situation of children not attending school.
This programme now called “Operation Care” is especially designed to get children off the streets.
Arthur said this programme emphasises the caring aspect of the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry is also stressing that legal action could be taken against those persons restraining their children from attending school. Legal action could also be taken against persons employing school-age children.
Arthur said parents should remember that “education is still very necessary”. She also encourages children to enjoy their school years and to be regular and punctual at school.
Other concerns by the Welfare Services are matters relating to physical and emotional abuse to children. Such matters should be urgently forwarded to the Child Welfare Service Headquarters on Croal Street. The office also has a hotline (225-0686) through which persons may get assistance.