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Guidance counsellors to visit homes of children not attending school

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Observer staff reporter douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, August 08, 2012    

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SCHOOL guidance counsellors and other approved persons are to visit the homes of children who are absent from school for more than two days, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has instructed.

This was disclosed by Minister of Education Rev Ronald Thwaites on Monday as he emphasised the importance of partnership between home and school to improve education outcomes.

“Prime Minister Simpson Miller has told us that from now on every child who is absent from school without excuse for more than two days, somebody from the school must go and find that child,” Thwaites told an audience of adults and children at the Jones Town Primary School in Kingston.

Permanent secretary in the education ministry, Grace McLean said that the ministry was putting systems in place to have the policy implemented.

“Since the prime minister has given that directive we have formed a committee and we are putting in place the mechanism by which we could do that (find the absentee students),” McLean told the Jamaica Observer.

“I’m hoping that by the latter part of September we would have met with the principals and come to some agreement as how it could be done,” she added.

The permanent secretary said the ministry would partner with entities that already work with children to put in place the system of finding the children.

“It’s going to be challenging, but we can partner with the social workers in the Ministry of Labour as well as the Child Development Agency, Office of the Children’s Advocate and other entities that have responsibility for children, and use whatever resources the state has to identify these children,”she said.

Meanwhile, Thwaites, who was at Jones Town Primary to celebrate Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee, called on Jamaicans to reach for the highest standards in education to match the performance of the country’s athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“I long for the day when we can score worldwide in the Mathematics olympics and the English olympics because those are the things that will make us employable, productive and prosperous,” he stated.

Thwaites also promised to work with the school’s management to lift performance standards and to carry out wellneed repairs to the school.

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