The Ministry of Education said yesterday it was unacceptable that there was a low student turnout at the nation's schools on Ash Wednesday.
In a news release, the ministry said education districts across the country reported approximately 25 per cent pupil turnout (one in four pupils attending school yesterday). The highest turnout of pupils was reported in the Victoria district where approximately four out of ten pupils (40 per cent) went to school.
Reports indicate the lowest pupil turnout was registered in the St George East, Port of Spain and Environs and North-Eastern Education districts, with an average of 20 per cent.
The release said: The low student turnout is totally unacceptable, and the parents of the students should hold themselves responsible for students' absence from school today. The Carnival celebrations should never be an excuse for parents to keep students away from schools."
The ministry said it was calling on the denominational boards, all parent/teacher associations, local school boards and all other stakeholders in education to take note of this very unsatisfactory situation and ensure that appropriate measures are implemented to prevent such recurrence. The situation has worsened from last year, it said.
However, in contrast with this low pupil turnout, approximately 80 per cent of the nation's teachers (four out of five) reported to work.
The Ministry of Education congratulated and thanked those teachers who turned out for duty yesterday. The release added, however, "an absence of 20 per cent of the nation's teachers must be dealt with by their representative trade union TTUTA. This issue will be also be brought to the attention of the Teaching Service Commission," the release said.