Schools Welfare Service tracking truants again
-to go after parents also
Stabroek News
April 17, 2004

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The Schools' Welfare Service in the Ministry of Education is launching Operation Care this month in its ongoing programme to get children to attend school regularly, and parents who may be responsible for encouraging absenteeism will also be targeted.

Coordinator of the Schools Welfare Service, Yvonne Arthur announced this latest initiative yesterday at a strategy-planning meeting at the department at 17 Brickdam and Sendall Place.

The coordinator noted that the programme seeks to lower truancy while placing emphasis on the caring aspect of the education ministry which is funding the programme. CARE is an acronym for care, assessment, respect and education.

She noted that the Schools' Welfare Service would be teaming up with trained teachers and social workers to carry out the programme, alongside volunteers who will be screened and trained.

The programme is designed to help children attend school regularly, Arthur said. According to the Education Act each parent has the responsibility for ensuring their child's attendance at school. Further, parents who are found to be habitually preventing their children from obtaining an education can be brought before the courts where a magistrate may choose a school for the child.

Arthur emphasised that the programmes continually target parents, as "some parents run away with the idea that they are not responsible for their child's attendance at school."

The programmes are carried out regionally on a monthly basis and this one is being designed for the months of April, May and June. Areas being targeted are in central Georgetown, East Coast Demerara and East Bank Demerara. These areas include behind the airport at Timehri, Mocha-Arcadia and Herstelling on the East Bank; Enmore, Hope West, Plaisance and Better Hope on the East Coast; and the Botanic and Promenade Gardens, the wharves and from Louisa Row to the Avenue of the Republic in Georgetown. Other areas identified in reports received would also come under surveillance.

Among those assisting with the programme are Joseph Gilgeous, Assistant Chief Education Officer, Georgetown, and Commissioner of Police Winston Felix who has been informed of the division's activities.

The Ministry of Human Services will provide staff and vehicles, while the City Constabulary will give similar assistance within the boundaries of Georgetown.

Also involved are representatives from the Region Four administration as well as a representative from the University of Guyana.