Ministry of Education, Guyana

Topic: Truancy (the act or condition of being absent from school

  • The room was cleared by an administrator.
  • 00:30 MinisterManickchand: Good evening everyone. Happy labour day!
  • 00:31 (Guest) HarryGill: Good Evening Hon. Minister
  • 00:31 SuelleWilliams: Happy Labour Day!!
  • 00:31 (Guest) HarryGill: Hope you had a great day.
  • 00:31 grace: same to you all
  • 00:32 (Guest) HarryGill: Hello Suelle
  • 00:32 Johnathan: Happy labour day (:
  • 00:32 MinisterManickchand: had a lovely time celebrating labour day with teachers at the GTU hall in woolford avenue. got a chance to say thank you to our hardworking teachers for their unfailing committment
  • 00:32 Natasha: Good evening everyone
  • 00:32 Johnathan: Ms.Manickchand can i tell you something?
  • 00:33 MinisterManickchand: pls do jonathon
  • 00:33 (Guest) HarryGill: Your Labour Day message was terrific!
  • 00:33 Johnathan: Well im a student from St.Johns college and i think you need to take a visit there cause we dont have proper furniture and the classes are very hot and the fans aint working and the place is extremely hot!
  • 00:35 PatrickChinedu: happy labour day Hon Minister and All
  • 00:35 Johnathan: The bathroom facilities are disgusting the reak!
  • 00:35 Johnathan: they*
  • 00:36 MinisterManickchand: i am very glad you are on this chat jonathon. we love to hear from our students and i dont feel that we hear often enough
  • 00:37 grace: Ms Manickchand do you think much is done to ensure that students attend school regularly? and if so what they can do to ensure they do since if a child has been absent for approximately one week if teachers seek to contact the parent to inquire whats causing there absence
  • 00:37 MinisterManickchand: i have good news regarding furniture. once your school supplies exactly what is needed as we have asked then lack of furniture will no longer be an issue for your school or indeed any school in guyana
  • 00:37 MinisterManickchand: this year;s budget allows us to but enough for every school
  • 00:38 Johnathan: Also the teachers is regularly beating us with Those cayian belts or whatever you call them!
  • 00:38 grace: their* sorry
  • 00:38 MinisterManickchand: hello grace. ensuring that children attend school regularly is something that has to be worked at by both home and school.
  • 00:39 Johnathan: Ms Manickchand once i was sick for a week they didnt even call to see what was wrong with me but expected an excuse
  • 00:40 MinisterManickchand: we have as a government engaged in a few interventions like making sure every child from nursery to grade 2 has a snack or hot meal and helping parents to buy uniforms and other school supplies for their children and from this year we are also going to be giving each child a grant of ten thousand dollars.
  • 00:40 grace: i do understand you Minister ,but most times when students are absent is because of some major problem that they are facing at home
  • 00:40 (Guest) brijlall: more needs to be done by punishing the parents
  • 00:40 MinisterManickchand: these interventions have caused attendance rates to increase significantly
  • 00:41 Natasha: How about us supporting the parents instead of punishing them
  • 00:41 grace: like ur poin jonathan
  • 00:41 MinisterManickchand: i agree grace. there are many challenges that can be faced in the home but we have to make sure the value of an education is understood by all.
  • 00:41 (Guest) brijlall: there
  • 00:41 MinisterManickchand: welcome brijlall. there are actually provision to take parents to court if they repeatedly fail to ensure their children attend school.
  • 00:42 MinisterManickchand: *provisions
  • 00:42 Johnathan: We have some math teachers who looks like 18 and they speak so softly we cant hear them and then when we complain we get into trouble
  • 00:43 (Guest) christine: Good night
  • 00:43 grace: ms Manichand do u know that some students attend school for their entire school life and know to read but cant spell what may cause such on the teachers behalf i know of such case
  • 00:43 MinisterManickchand: jonathon what do you think causes your peers (even if not from your school) to stay away from school and what do you think we can do to make sure they attend
  • 00:44 MinisterManickchand: grace i do know of some cases like that and i say without reservation that in those cases our system has failed those children. we are working on a literacy plan that should see a reduction in that
  • 00:44 MinisterManickchand: good night christine
  • 00:44 Johnathan: I think that they staying away from school is being neglected by teachers and parents so they skip school i think instead of telling a child they cant do something encourage them dont bring them down every child has a bright future!
  • 00:45 grace: Ms Manickchand what can the public do if they notice a child/children has not been attending school
  • 00:45 (Guest) Lisa: Good Night All, Truancy can have many causes. Reluctance or delinquency on the part of the student and this is compounded by the parents failure to check on the student at school.
  • 00:45 MinisterManickchand: agreed jonathon about the encouragement part. but how can we also make sure children are responsible and attend
  • 00:45 (Guest) christine: I applaud the efforts of the School Social Workers and Welfare Officers ....but teachers have to make their lessons that interesting so students will want to be present regardless of their circumstances
  • 00:45 (Guest) Lisa: Johnathon as a student you need to encourage your peers to attend school.
  • 00:46 Johnathan: I do (: My peers do come to school i do encourage them
  • 00:46 MinisterManickchand: lisa. thanks for raising the important issue of responsibiliites of children
  • 00:46 Johnathan: sometimes they dont come because they could be bullied too
  • 00:46 Johnathan: i was onced bullied and was afraid of going to school!
  • 00:46 (Guest) Lisa: Everyone has had bad experiences in schools, teachers who you feel dont like you or dont care but school is not different from the world of work and you have to cope with different personalities there
  • 00:47 (Guest) nabeel: Truancy is very prevalent, but I think we need to get to the root cause of it and deal with it there. I observed that most students who drop out from the school I work at are those who have difficulty in literacy. Somewhere along the line, the system failed theses students. Imagine we have some grade 8 students who cannot write a complete sentence properly. It is difficult to help those students, because teachers at grade 8 would be focusiing on grade 8 content, not literacy.
  • 00:47 MinisterManickchand: great point lisa.
  • 00:47 Johnathan: Teachers show favoritism in school! They treat that one kid all good and then there is that other kid who doesnt gets treat properly
  • 00:47 MinisterManickchand: i am hearing you nabeel. but literacy has to be infused in every subject.
  • 00:48 grace: at my school our teacher would encourage us to be our brothers keeper .if we do not see a friend come to class text or call to find out if they are coming or not and encourage them to come
  • 00:48 (Guest) rasul: Good Evening
  • 00:48 MinisterManickchand: i like the peer encouragement that is happening at your school grace. and nice to have another student on
  • 00:48 MinisterManickchand: 'evening rasul
  • 00:49 (Guest) rasul: Happy Labour Day to all
  • 00:49 Josephwangija: Good evening everyone
  • 00:49 MinisterManickchand: good evening joseph
  • 00:50 Johnathan: Ms.Manickchand Isnt it a law that a teacher isnt suppose to beat a child?
  • 00:50 (Guest) nabeel: I try to infuse in my subjects, but its not possible to such students. I think they need individual attention. Some of these students may have some sort of learning disablity. Teachers should be trained to recognize the problem, and I believve that there should be a system to adresss this
  • 00:51 MinisterManickchand: nabeel i fully agree with you that a grade 8 teacher should not have to teach basic lietracy.
  • 00:51 Josephwangija: What can we say is responsible for trauncy
  • 00:51 (Guest) nabeel: As for those who say that teachers do not care about students, while it may be true in many instance, one needs to consider that on a daily basis one teacher may be interacting with about 180 students.
  • 00:51 MinisterManickchand: jonathon only the HM or someone assigned by the Hm should be administering corporal punishment.
  • 00:51 (Guest) brijlall: children who gained low marks at grade six should be allowed another chance instead of going to sixth grade high school
  • 00:51 Josephwangija: Truancy is a big problem globally
  • 00:52 MinisterManickchand: we will be checking on your representation here that teachers at your school are beating.
  • 00:52 MinisterManickchand: hello joseph.
  • 00:52 Johnathan: So then tell me why we have sirs severely benching boys and stuff its horrible
  • 00:53 (Guest) brijlall: most times these very children drop out of school
  • 00:53 Sunita: interesting topic! due to this many of our youths fail to achieve their maximum potential.
  • 00:53 grace: i hate corporal punishment at schools it doesn't change an individual
  • 00:53 Josephwangija: How about Children with special education needs -CWSEN. Can we say they are truants? for example, according to the national census figures, about 7.2% of our children with special needs have difficulties attending school
  • 00:54 Johnathan: Thats why some children from my school rebel!
  • 00:54 (Guest) rasul: While i think this chat thing is good i believe we are going around in Circles
  • 00:54 MinisterManickchand: our statistics do not show that most of the children who go to the transition class drop out of school, brijlall. although i do concede that those who do drop out are mostly from this group
  • 00:55 Johnathan: Ms.Manickchand im just begging you to visit St.Johns please!
  • 00:55 (Guest) rasul: What is the end results of most of the issues discussed here
  • 00:55 Josephwangija: This of the 7.2% , many have mobility impediments
  • 00:56 MinisterManickchand: rasul, we listen. we hear. we address where necc after the conversation. the chat also allows us from the ministry to share our policies etc. healthy discussion can never be a bad thing.
  • 00:56 (Guest) brijlall: poor nutrition is one of the main cause children do not think
  • 00:57 (Guest) rasul: Minister why are we still having the retired people in The System
  • 00:57 grace: Ms Manickchand whats mr. Chinedu purpose ere what possible question can we discuss with him
  • 00:57 MinisterManickchand: joseph, we had consultations all across the country about how we can better serve our children with special education needs as it is our view that we are not doing as well as we can do. we shall shortly be unveiling a plan of action
  • 00:57 Johnathan: We have prefects who curse us and do what they want because the feel they have that authority !
  • 00:57 (Guest) nabeel: why is is wrong to have retired persons rasul?
  • 00:57 (Guest) rasul: Are we not making way for our young ones
  • 00:58 (Guest) nabeel: true, but we sometimes need the knowledge of the older folks to assit and guide the younger teachers.
  • 00:58 (Guest) rasul: Nabeel Some of them are encoraging corruption
  • 00:58 Josephwangija: I agree Hon. Minister but wanted to bring out some of the causes of truancy
  • 00:58 MinisterManickchand: good nutrition is very important in a child's development.
  • 00:59 MinisterManickchand: i agree with you joseph. i ack that as a valid reason
  • 00:59 MinisterManickchand: or cause
  • 00:59 Josephwangija: Another cause could be attributed to the desire to get rich young
  • 00:59 (Guest) rasul: Correct Joseph
  • 01:00 (Guest) rasul: Some Students does not respect our School Rules at all
  • 01:00 MinisterManickchand: again joseph, arising our of our collective failure to instill the value of an education
  • 01:00 Josephwangija: In 2010, the Chronicle news paper carried a very nice editorial which I regarded the editorial of the year. In it, they showed how this phenomenal is contributing o trauncy
  • 01:01 Josephwangija: Another cause could be parental neglect
  • 01:02 Josephwangija: Many parents have left to the Ministry of Education the responsibility for education of their children. This is a great cause for truancy
  • 01:03 Johnathan: Ms.Priya i recall get 466 in common entrance and got St.Johns when my other peers are getting 430's yet i got there can you explain?
  • 01:03 MinisterManickchand: someone asked earlier how mr chinedu could contribute to this conversation. well, apart from the benefit we would derive from hearing from all equally, mr chinedu is actually the assistant chief education officer responsible for technical vocational education. that is an important role where we offer students pathways that may be more intersting to them. this is why we are paying far more attention to out tech voc institutions and to our tech voc subjects in school
  • 01:03 Natasha: Joseph any suggestions on how to approach the cause of parental neglect
  • 01:03 MinisterManickchand: agreed fully joseph. educating our children has to be a partnership.
  • 01:03 Josephwangija: Education is not a one-man show. And I think you Hon. Minister for this platform which has to act as a voice for the parents out there
  • 01:03 (Guest) Lisa: Many parents have left the school to raise their children. It is a sad situation but is the reality. A good indicator is to find out how many end of term reports are left behind at the school
  • 01:04 Natasha: truancy caused by parental neglect
  • 01:04 MinisterManickchand: jonathon i cannot answer you without greater details.
  • 01:04 MinisterManickchand: again, lisa. you have hit the nail on the head.
  • 01:04 Johnathan: So how can i transfer i have to get that 70 and up % then write the ministry's test?
  • 01:05 Josephwangija: Yes Natasha. Senstisation. In Uganda for example, this problem as so rife after Idi Amin
  • 01:05 Josephwangija: The solution was massive sensitisation
  • 01:05 MinisterManickchand: something like that jonathon. you should visit the secondary department with your parents
  • 01:06 Johnathan: She did! And you guys told her that so i was just making sure! Im quite sure your mother knows her
  • 01:06 Josephwangija: Where good sense failed, force was applied in the form of imprisonment or charges
  • 01:06 (Guest) Lisa: Johnathon why are you so negative toward your current school and seem to be focused on running away
  • 01:06 Natasha: Thanks Joseph I do agree
  • 01:07 Josephwangija: Another cause for truancy is lack of role models.
  • 01:07 Johnathan: Its not running away im doing im doing it for the benefit of me because we sometimes hardly get teach
  • 01:07 MinisterManickchand: how do chatters feel about what joseph said? try to sensitise parents as to importance of sending their children to school. and if that sensitisation fails to produce results then go harsher with enforcement evene if it means charges against the parents???
  • 01:07 Josephwangija: Each and everyone of us is a role model for the young.
  • 01:08 (Guest) Lisa: Sad to say but your grammar here in this chat is not a very good reflection of you as a student.
  • 01:08 Johnathan: Exactly cause all we've been doing is comprehension how is that really benefiting us?
  • 01:09 (Guest) rasul: Go Johnathan Go
  • 01:09 Josephwangija: Let me now attempt to look at solutions to truancy
  • 01:09 (Guest) rasul: I totally Support u joseph
  • 01:10 Josephwangija: One of the solutions as said herein earlier is massive sensitization
  • 01:10 (Guest) nabeel: we need to look at the situation of the parents before we put any harsh punishment. In my short career as a teacher, I know two students whose parents simply cannot afford to send their kids to school. The children would go once in a while to school. Punishing the parent would only increase hardship. On the other hand some parents just not responsible enough
  • 01:10 (Guest) rasul: We are all Role Model to our Students and our Country as a Whole
  • 01:11 Josephwangija: Secondly, we need to establish strong linkages- with each and every stake holder. This is model has been used extensively in Finland, Singapore an Rwanda
  • 01:12 (Guest) nabeel: I have to leave, but before I go,I would like to request from the minister that every school should be given a laptop (maybe the OLPF one). We have two projectors at school. I use them regularly to assist in teaching, but I have to take my personal laptop to school. Think this is not fair
  • 01:12 (Guest) Lisa: Punishment is not the way to go. But rather as Joseph said sensitisation.
  • 01:12 Josephwangija: For example, the school welfare officers, Personnel in the ministry's SEN unit, probation officers, parents, medical persons need to work as a team in addressing truancy
  • 01:12 MinisterManickchand: hmmm. i heard you nabeel. thanks for joining us.
  • 01:13 (Guest) Lisa: Parents need to appreciate that life skills are learnt at home and in school as a joint project
  • 01:13 (Guest) rasul: We cannot be attacking our Parents all the time Some Students are not willing to learn and some wants to have a Fancy Life early a Clock But Education is better than silver or gold
  • 01:13 (Guest) Lisa: My point exactly Rasul, but if parents are demanding a particular standard from their kids then those kids will set their own standards
  • 01:14 Johnathan: Our welfare officer once came to my class and rang a girl's ear
  • 01:14 (Guest) rasul: Some Parents like to compete with others
  • 01:14 Josephwangija: Another solution would be the development of a tracking system. Hon. Minister, I have no problem to advise ho this can be implemented
  • 01:14 (Guest) Nedd: i think that all stakeholders should lend a helping hand in ensuring that all school age children in their communities regularly attend school.
  • 01:15 Johnathan: Anyways i have to go to but i just beg of you Ms.Manickchand that you visit St.Johns College soon!
  • 01:15 (Guest) Lisa: Maybe the proposed assistance program should have a caveat that school attendance is necessary to draw down on the $10,000: and that attendance must be maintained.
  • 01:16 MinisterManickchand: jonathon, i am very happy you joined us tonight. we will be visiting your school. have a good night
  • 01:16 (Guest) rasul: Nedd you mad tell your neighbours about their kids not going to school you get a cussing
  • 01:16 Josephwangija: With this system, we can be able to track the attendance of each child and using a graph-matrix, we can discover what is causing truancy and knowing the problem will help us to find solutions
  • 01:16 Johnathan: Thanks you too ma'am :) Bye everyone
  • 01:16 (Guest) rasul: Bye Jonathan
  • 01:17 Josephwangija: hmmmm. check what you say R
  • 01:17 MinisterManickchand: lisa i have gotten that suggestion before. while we will not attach conditions in this first grant we are mulling some of these conditions that are being suggested
  • 01:18 MinisterManickchand: surely we can find a civilised way, rasul to approach our neighbours and offer useful information. i do understand your apprehension but sometimes we have to do our civic duty nonetheless
  • 01:19 Josephwangija: Then, we have another issue. Bringing them in and making them stay.
  • 01:19 (Guest) rasul: Well I do but these days our society is so messed up
  • 01:20 MinisterManickchand: there is an old african proverb that remains relevant today "it takes a village to raise a child"
  • 01:20 Josephwangija: It is better o try than failing to try
  • 01:21 MinisterManickchand: joesph i would be glad to have contact info fro you so that we can talk further on this issue. maybe if you can send us a mail with info on how we can make contact
  • 01:22 Josephwangija: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 01:22 (Guest) rasul: Another thing Minister why the Teachers tell the students that after they have written their End of term test that they can stay home
  • 01:22 MinisterManickchand: thank you. we will be in touch
  • 01:23 MinisterManickchand: teachers should not be telling students that rasul
  • 01:23 (Guest) rasul: Well Well there you go
  • 01:23 bibi: Well said Minister n I agree all of us have to help n for me when eve i see a child/children anyway where during school hours with their parents or without I would question why they are not in school and sometimes the adults are abusive but I still continue n will always
  • 01:24 Josephwangija: Finally, Truancy is a problem of each and everyone of us. Because if we neglect these children, we will all pay the price in future. I thank you all, good night
  • 01:24 (Guest) rasul: There is a woman who has a child going to David Rose School and she has that boy on the street with his uniform begging
  • 01:25 Natasha: good night Joseph
  • 01:25 (Guest) rasul: Night Night Joseph
  • 01:25 (Guest) rasul: When he should be in school learning
  • 01:25 sweetbibi: If you know of truants who should you complain to?
  • 01:26 MinisterManickchand: god night joseph. thank you for your very relevant contributions
  • 01:26 MinisterManickchand: sweetbibi, you should let the ministry or education department in your region know
  • 01:27 sweetbibi: and what if the department doesn't respond to your telephone call?
  • 01:27 bibi: is there a hotline at the ministry?
  • 01:28 (Guest) rasul: Call the Minister office Directly Bibi
  • 01:28 MinisterManickchand: yes. admin pls post the hotline numbers. and that is exactly what you should do if the department fails to respond. call the hotline
  • 01:28 SuelleWilliams: I believe the hotline numbers are 2237891/6230550
  • 01:28 (Guest) rasul: Or the Ministers office
  • 01:28 sweetbibi: ok
  • 01:28 SuelleWilliams: and 6234010
  • 01:29 bibi: Thanks suelle
  • 01:30 MinisterManickchand: thank you all for joining us on this labour day. we are grateful for the contributions which i can tell you now will be informing policy going forward. have a great night and a lovely weekend everyone. much love.
  • 01:30 rootaccess: HOTLINES: 223-7891, 623-4010, AND 623-0550
  • 01:31 (Guest) rasul: Same to you and Family
  • 01:32 bibi: Good nite everyone n its also Global Love Day..
  • 01:32 (Guest) HarryGill: Goodnight all. Thank you for your contribution!
  • 01:32 Natasha: Good night everyone may the peace and blessings of almighty God be with us all.
  • 01:33 rootaccess: Good night everyone!
  • 01:34 rootaccess: From all of us at MOE, do have a pleasant evening. We will continue or chat next thursday, same time! God bless!
  • 01:34 rootaccess: Disconnect all...
  • 01:34 rootaccess: Everyone will be disconnected in 1 minute.
  • Published in Let's Chat Archive

    On February 28, the Ministry’s Schools Welfare Department in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, the Guyana Police Force visited ‘E’ Field, South Sophia investigating the absence of school-aged children from school.

    With-in a few hours and thorough walk of the ‘E’ Field Sophia area the joint teams found forty-eight children who were not in school. During visits to the homes of some of the children, parents and guardians were told about their responsibility to ensure that their children receive an education.

    Published in News & Events

    National Truancy Coordinator Yvonne Arthur has reported that some 55 parents have been placed before the court for neglecting to educate their children since the Education Ministry stepped up its truancy campaign last year.

    Parents are placed before the court when they fail to send their children to school, despite assistance from government and other support agencies.

    The Education Ministry has taken a decision to prosecute parents who have abandoned their responsibility to educate their children in a bid to send a clear message of its position on this matter. Child employers are also being targeted.

    Published in News & Events
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