Blame Govt for school absenteeism
“The police are clamping down on absenteeism in schools.” So says a serious but laughable news item, followed by a reminder to parents about the penalty for absenteeism. It is hypocritical of the Government to talk about “absenteeism in schools” when the biggest perpetrators of “involuntary absenteeism ” are the Ministry of Education, the very ones who, along with the police, insist on enforcing the law which is a farce.
Given the number of weeks missed by pupils, even after two months of holidays when the Ministry of Education did not repair schools in time for our pupils and teachers to return to work in decent conditions, it is only fair for the government to pay the penalty fee of $500 for each child they caused to be absent from school or go to prison and serve their three months just like parents are required to do. The money should be collected by the schools to get repairs done but if it’s imprisonment, the prisons would be the ideal location for those who caused the offence. Top it off with a little hunger strike if they don’t like the food! There is absolutely no reason for any schools in Trinidad and Tobago to be closed because of lack of funds or for any other reason, including a blatant disregard for education.
If education were one of the essential services such as electricity, where the immediate impact is felt by the entire nation when it is out even for a minute, more respect and appreciation would be accorded it. It may take years for us to feel the impact of negligence and other ills in the education system but the nation will suffer the consequences, ultimately. Obviously, absenteeism is not to be tolerated but if we are enforcing laws, they should apply to everyone so the Ministry of Education and by extension the government (of whichever political persuasion) should be held responsible for our children’s absence from school. Stop the hypocrisy and ensure that our children are in school when they should be there.