Some children dropped out of school to work; Education Ministry sending them to secondary schools

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The Ministry of Education has been able to engage some of the families of the more than 500 children who were absent from this year’s sitting of the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and it has been found that some children dropped out of school to work on farms or elsewhere to support their families.

This was related by the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr. Marcel Hutson during an end-of-year press conference on Monday.

In August, the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand said that some 536 pupils were absent from this year’s sitting of the NGSA, which was held on August 4-5.

At several public events afterwards, she said that the Education Ministry would find those children and reintegrate them into the school system.

At the press conference on Monday, Dr. Hutson said that the welfare officers had been able to locate more than 100 of those children. And, importantly, he reported that some of those children dropped out to work.

In other instances, Hutson said that it was found that some of the children had migrated or relocated to other communities in Guyana. The internal relocation, he pointed out, appeared in some of the hinterland communities.

Education Minister Priya Manickchand

Hutson emphasised that if children are unable to attend schools because of financial difficulties- whether transportation, food, clothing or otherwise- a decision has been taken to support those children.

“… whatever help that could be given to them financially to alleviate the problems they are experiencing would be given to them,” he stressed.

At this year’s sitting of the NGSA, children were given the option to abstain from the assessment. If they did so, they would be placed in a secondary school closest to where they live.

With the children who the ministry has been able to locate, Hutson said that they will be placed in a secondary school accordingly.

“They will never be left hanging,” he pointed out.

The issue of children dropping out of school has been a concern over the past few months.

Minister Manickchand stated previously that much emphasis has been placed on reopening schools because online learning, despite the many interventions from the ministry, has not allowed all children, everywhere to be equally engaged.

With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, it is expected that children would be able to return to schools.

From January, it is expected that all secondary school students, except those in Form One (Grade Seven), will return to face-to-face classes.

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