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Story Highlights

  • Consistent school attendance will ensure better academic results
  • In February, the Ministries of Education and Labour and Social Security signed a MoU aimed at increasing attendance
  • The aim is to boost attendance in the targeted schools by 10 per cent over a one year period

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is appealing to parents to ensure that their children attend school regularly.

The Minister, who was delivering the keynote address at an awards ceremony held recently in St. Ann, argued that consistent school attendance will ensure better academic results and that the country benefits from the large investment it makes in education.

“Education is the second largest part of the Jamaican budget and we have to make sure that, that money so large, so vital, is well spent. Make sure that you attend…we only have over 80 per cent school attendance; we need to get that up another ten per cent very soon,” he said.

In February, the Ministries of Education and Labour and Social Security signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at increasing attendance among students in four high schools in Clarendon.

The aim is to boost attendance in the targeted schools by 10 per cent over a one year period, through a Compliance Intervention Strategy.

“Parents, do everything you can to send your child to school every day, at all levels. Students, if you miss one day a week, what you are doing is cutting 20 per cent of the education, and that happens in so many instances. We need to go to school every single day. We need to up attendance overall in Jamaica, for better results,” Minister Thwaites said.

The awards ceremony, held at the Holiday Haven in Runaway Bay, was to honour top students in the 2013 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) from North West St. Ann and also outstanding teachers.

Minister Thwaites lauded the Member of Parliament for the area, Dr. Dayton Campbell, who organised the function, for making education a priority in the constituency. He pledged to have another high school built in the constituency and to remove the Brown’s Town High School from the shift system.

Minister Thwaites also reiterated his call for parents to pay the auxiliary fees at high schools. He noted that while students on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) are exempt, “for other students, the fees are not optional”.

“They are mandatory, they must be paid; they do not have to be paid all at one time if you cannot afford it,” he stated.

The Minister advised those parents having difficulty to work out a payment arrangement with the school principal.

“It is important that you make some payment at the outset of the school year, and it is perfectly permissible for you to make an arrangement with the principal for the payment of the remainder over a period of time,” he said.

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