Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, has called on parents to make sure that their children attend school regularly.
“If you are experiencing difficulty, make the authorities aware. There is the PATH programme (to assist), and if you can’t send your children to school, at least make the Ministry of Education and the regional offices aware; we have a duty and an obligation to assist if you can’t send your child to school,” the Minister assured.
Mr. Holness was delivering the keynote address at a presentation ceremony, held on August 11, at the Alpart Sport Club in Nain, St. Elizabeth, where Alpart presented cheques to some 40 students to assist with back-to-school expenses.
“If you know of other parents who are delinquent in not sending their children to school, it is your duty to report this to the relevant authorities. You can report it to the regional offices and you can tell your Member of Parliament. The objective is to get everyone in school. It is all our duty to ensure that every child is educated. That’s how we remove crime from our society, remove bad health practices, become more productive, and how we diversify our economy,” the Minister said.
He told members of the audience that when they make reports on children not attending schoool, they are doing a deed that is protective of their communities, as when children remain out of school, an underclass will be built and created with likely actions that can result in mayhem, as they see little hope in the society.
“Don’t feel as if you are squealing on someone if you report that their child is not in school. You are doing them and yourself a favour. Education is only beneficial when everyone has it, and we can’t be selfish with education. Look out for your neighbour's child, and ensure that your child is in school, come September,” he charged.
The Minister pointed out that in his constituency, he has assigned persons to check on households to ensure that where parents have challenges with their children going to school, they can receive the necessary help. He also indicated that the Ministry will be looking at data to ascertain where children are kept out of school, and tackle the issue with urgency.
“If children are not in school, the necessary socialisation that will make them productive citizens, good parents, being able to participate in the development of their society, they will miss all of that. And, if they miss all of that, they can’t participate in the society,” he said.
“The solution can’t be the Police beating them on the road, or arresting them. The solution has to be education,” the Minister emphasised.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter