T&T Minister says absent students will be referred to SSD

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadbsy-Dolly says all students who fail to return to school will be referred to the Student Support Services Division to determine the reason for their non-attendance.

She was responding to concerns from the general secretary of the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association Kady Beckles that some students have been forced to drop out of school so that they could work to assist their struggling parents.

Minister Gadsby-Dolly said, “All students who are absent from school without excuse for extended periods are referred to the Student Support Services Division. This issue, which predates COVID, is a difficult one to solve in some cases, as the parent may not have provided the school with current contact information.”

She added, “Community Police are then informed, to reach the parent and child, and bring the child back to the school system.”

She noted however that compulsory school age ends at 16, and in some cases, the students who leave school may have attained that age, and are therefore not obliged to return.

Based on the review of the data for Wednesday a total of 66 per cent of students were in attendance at secondary schools. 

On Monday, teacher and student attendance averaged 84.5 per cent and 65 per cent respectively, while at primary schools, 91 per cent of teachers and 73 per cent of students were in attendance. 

On Tuesday, Beckles said TTUTA had received complaints that some students had no money for transportation. She said some students had to stay at home to look at their younger siblings while their parents went out to work and others had no money for uniforms, although some schools have relaxed the uniform stipulation. 

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