Labour ministry launches campaign to address absenteeism in institutions
THERE IS a high level of absenteeism in schools among children who are on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), according to data from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
The data revealed that 25 per cent of the children on PATH failed to meet the basic requirements of attending school - 85 per cent of the attendable days.
Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier indicated that it was even worse as the number increases to almost 35 per cent for young persons, especially males in grade nine and above.
Kellier was speaking at the national launch of the ministry's 'School Wi Seh' campaign at the Kingston High School on Tuesday.
" The problem is significant in that this standard for school attendance was created to ensure that each child has the opportunity to reap the full rewards of the educational experience that is being provided by the school.
"The non-achievement of the standard is therefore an early warning sign that these children will not be able to participate productively in the society, and is a direct threat to the achievement of PATH in breaking the intergeneration poverty cycle," Kellier said.
He argued that, as a result of the problem, the campaign is aimed at countering the prevailing ideas of immediate gratification.
"The campaign will seek to let families know that education is a reward in itself. It is unwise to think that education is only to get a job. Education is a much larger and far more complex reality," he added.
Students on PATH must maintain a good attendance report to continue to benefit from the programme.
However, information from the ministry suggested that, over the last six years, there has been an increase in the overall levels of non-compliance.
A total of 130,000 families across the island are beneficiaries of PATH, of which 80 per cent are children who attend primary and secondary schools.
CAPTION: Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier (second left) and marketing and sales manager, RJR Communications Group, Carlene Swaby-Taylor (second right) sign the media partnership agreement for the 'School Wi Seh' education campaign at the official launch on Tuesday at Kingston High School. Others looking on (from left) are: director for social security in the ministry, Denzil Thorpe; project director for the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education, Dunstan Bryan; and principal, Kingston High School, Corrine Richards. - CONTRIBUTED