A student attendance registration application is to be developed to collect information in real time about school attendance.
Education, Youth and Information Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, who made the disclosure while addressing a virtual Post Sectoral Debate Press Conference on Thursday (April 29), said current national statistics indicate 74 per cent consistent school attendance among children.
Noting that there are many reasons for absenteeism, she said the development of the application will assist in providing information to the Ministry in a timely manner, thereby enabling the provision of appropriate interventions.
“Absenteeism from school is an early warning signal and that is why we are going to develop the attendance app, so that we have reliable and also timely information about absenteeism, so we can intervene and find out what are the issues and we can find that out early,” she said.
She further observed that there are four main reasons for absenteeism. These are illness, financial constraints, unauthorised closure of school and rain, particularly in rural areas.
Other factors, she cited, are dropouts, expulsion and pregnancy among girls.
“All those things we have to take on. It can’t be that a student getting expelled for whatever reason, that is the end of the line for his or her education. The same for pregnancy. These are tough situations, but we have to bring solutions to them if we want to see attendance numbers increase and if we want to see our children get an education,” the Minister said.
Arguing that these challenges should not be a bar to education, she said the Ministry is seeking to strengthen the technology infrastructure in the sector to ensure universal access to education.
“We have to use all the [resources] available to us to help our children succeed. I know that we are not there yet in terms of the deployment of technology in our schools, but we are running very quickly to ensure that all our schools have connectivity and proper bandwidth. We are running quickly to get technology in the schools and into the hands of our students,” the Minister said.