The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, concerned about a fall off in school attendance by students, who benefit under the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), has launched an initiative aimed at affirming the benefits of education.
The 'School Wi Seh!' educational campaign will be implemented through a series of island-wide school tours during the academic year. The RJR Communications Group will promote the campaign through advertisements.
It will seek to motivate students to attend school regularly despite their social and economic challenges and also reinforce community participation by reaching out to parents, guardians and the general public to endorse education as one of the proven vehicles towards breaking the cycle of poverty.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, in addressing the launch on September 11 at the Kingston High School located downtown, said that there has been an increase in the levels of non-compliance of children on PATH, who are in higher grade levels at secondary school.
"Our data shows that the requirement for children to attend school 85 per cent of the attendable days is not being met by 25 per cent of the children. This number increases to almost 35 per cent for young persons, especially males, in grades nine and above," he said.
Minister Kellier explained that the education standard was created to ensure that each child has the opportunity to reap the full rewards of an educational experience, and the Ministry is therefore concerned about the level of non-compliance.
"The non-achievement of the standard is 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," he argued.
Mr. Kellier called on all Jamaicans to play their part in ensuring that the nation’s future leaders are educated.
"We are all accountable for the achievement or underachievement of the young and we must revisit and revitalise the spirit of our African ancestry where it is said that "it takes a village to raise a child".
"We call on every bus driver; every conductor and taxi driver; every street vendor; police and lawyer; every DJ and "selecta" to understand that they play a role in the education process and that they too must pronounce that 'School Wi Seh'," he stated.
In commending the initiative, Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, encouraged the students to make the best of their educational opportunities.
He reminded them that regardless of their circumstances, they too can become successful leaders of tomorrow.