Education Ministry clamps down on absenteeism

first_img– parents could face criminal chargesThe Education Ministry will be enforcing the law as inscribed in the Education Act 39:01, to have parents criminally charged or fined if their children are absent from school for more than five days.On Monday, the Ministry indicated that in an effort to reduce absenteeism, the Schools Welfare Department will conduct truancy campaigns, as well as school and home visits to ensure that children attend school regularly.By law, children between the ages of five years nine months and 15 years are required to receive an education, and it is the duty of parents, guardians and caregivers to ensure that they are supported to do so.“Numerous studies show the link between academic performance and consistent attendance, which is so critical for the quality of a child’s education. Research suggests that children who are frequently absent from school are more likely to become involved in, or be a victim of crime and anti-social behaviour,” the Ministry said in a statement on Monday.Public Relations Officer Suelle Williams, when contacted, told this publication that the Ministry was reminding parents of their duty in keeping with the rights of a child. She stated that when a child was refused the right to an education, they were done an injustice.Children are sometimes absent from school because of medical reasons for extended periods, but it is the parents’ or guardians’ responsibility to make every effort to inform the school of the reason(s) for the child’s absence, the Ministry stated.It affirmed that in the event that parents fail to notify the school of the child’s absence, the school is required to notify the Schools Welfare Department at the Ministry or any Regional Department of Education who would then issue an ‘attendance notification’ to parents.Schools are obligated to take such action when a child is absent for five or more days.“This attendance notification gives the parent notice that the student has accumulated too many unexcused absences and gives the parent an opportunity to visit the Schools Welfare Department to make the necessary steps to ensure that the child’s attendance record improves,” the Ministry said, adding that if this step did not obtain the desired results, a court warning would be issued notifying the parent of the potential summons to be filed in the Magistrate’s Court.“Parents are likely to be criminally charged or fined if their child has unexcused absences,” it added, emphasising that the School Welfare Service was taking the matter seriously and would enforce the law to ensure that every child had the right to an education.last_img read more