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Ministry records high school absenteeism
Schools throughout the country saw a 50 per cent attendance by students yesterday, the day after two consecutive public holidays.
Confirmation came from president of the T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Lynsley Doodhai who attributed the “poor” turnout to the back-to-back Indian Arrival and Corpus Christi public holidays on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
“The preliminary information I have is that the students’ attendance today is lower than normal. In some instances at least half of the students’ population is absent from schools. The attendance has to be related to the two holidays in the middle of the week.”
Even though there were classes yesterday, Doodhai some parents opted not to send their children to school so they could enjoy the extended weekend.
Doodhai said the 50 per cent attendance was not surprising, stating that it was more acute in the rural areas.
“Parents should be more responsible in ensuring that their children are sent to school.”
Doodhai said students also fail to attend classes on Ash Wednesday, after being given two days off on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
In spite of calls by Education Minister Anthony Garcia for parents to send their children to school following the 2018 Carnival, the attendance was low.
“This issue was discussed previously with the ministry but there has been no solution to the problem. I think the problem is a cultural one. We have to change the way we think when there is Carnival or a long weekend. Some parents do not see the daily attendance of school as fundamentally important to the development of the child.”
There are 125 secondary and 425 primary schools in T&T.
With the 2017/2018 academic year coming to a close, Doodhai said in the next three weeks all students will write their end of term exams. He said keeping a child home for one school day disrupts their studies.
He said by and large the ministry’s 14,000 teachers showed up for work.
“The attendance of teachers today was far better than the students.”
Education Minister Anthony Garcia, who was attending a meeting in Barbados, said he had no idea what the students’ attendance rate was.
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