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Migration a leading reason for ‘dropouts’ – Miguel

Migration a leading reason for ‘dropouts’ – Miguel

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It would seem that migration is one of the leading reasons why children leave primary schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines without completing.

Minister of Education, Girlyn Miguel was replying to a question posed in Parliament this week, when she addressed the reasons behind student {{more}}dropouts at the primary and secondary level.

“Students do drop out for a variety of reasons. And this is indeed a matter that merits the attention of the ministry of Educa­tion as well as the ministry of National Mobilization and the ministry of Health. However, the problem can be addressed only marginally unless the parents and primary caregivers of the vulnerable students fulfill their parental obligations,” she explained.

Miguel noted that prior to 2011, all persons exiting the system were classified as dropouts for reasons related to pregnancy, death, transfers and migration. Since then, the data capture instruments have been amended to provide more detail information regarding the reasons for pupils dropping out from their respective cycles.

While quoting from the 2013-2014 edition of the SVG Educational Statis­tical Digest, which she said is available online at www.stats.gov.vc, Miguel indicated that the majority of dropout cases at the primary level are due to migration.

“It is noteworthy that between 2009 and 2014, the number of pupils exiting the cycle prematurely was less than 100 of more than 13,000 enrolled,” the education minister said.

She further noted that there were safety nets in place that are “second to none in this region” and are designed to help various students.

These safety nets include the school feeding programme, subsidized transportation, book loan schemes, public assistance for rent and helping students with food, counseling programmes, parenting programmes, teen mom support programmes, special support for challenged students, paying examination fees for the needy and providing money for medical care for sick students.

In respect of the secondary level, Miguel reported that the number of dropouts have decreased between 2009 and 2014 with 374 dropouts being recorded in the 2009-2010 period and 242 dropouts in the 2013-2014 period.

An analysis of the five year period from 2009 to 2014 reflects a less than 5 per cent leaver rate hence less than 400 pupils exited the system prematurely,” she said.

“It is anticipated that there will be a greater attrition with higher levels of study and the reasons for dropouts at this level are currently under examination. In conclusion it is inappropriate to sum up the dropout figures for the given years as each leaver represents a unique statistic for a given academic year….Such data can be addressed for trends over the years but not aggregated.”(BK)

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