84 truants found in Region Six campaign

Guyana Chronicle
February 23, 2007

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THE Welfare Department of the Ministry of Education in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) started a truancy campaign last week under the theme ‘Operation Care’.

Educators, accompanied by Police ranks made surprise visits to places between Fyrish and Whim, Corentyne, where 84 truants were found.

Children between seven and 14 years old were involved in selling at Rose Hall Municipal Market, shopping for relatives, kite flying, fishing and playing on streets.

A group of six boys were gambling in an abandoned house at Kilcoy Squatting Area, another part of Corentyne and all the school-aged children were arrested and taken to Rose Hall Primary School where their parents and guardians were lectured on their roles and responsibilities.

Senior Welfare Officer Carol Johnson-Melville said the most common excuse offered by the relatives was that the children were first offenders or sick.

She said, from the number detained, six, ranging in age from nine to 11 years, had never attended school.

The ministry, however, provided letters for the children’s admission to learning institutions and, through the intervention of a non-governmental organisation, uniforms and other necessities were supplied them.

Ms. Johnson-Melville said the operation was successful with 99 per cent of the truants placed in schools, among them Port Mourant Community High, Cropper, Albion and Rose Hall primary schools.

She said one child was not put in a school because he had a medical condition that deemed him temporarily unable to attend classes.

Johnson-Melville said the drive will continue weekly in different communities in an effort to decrease the incidence of truancy.