Secondary school dropout rate under 3 per cent – Minister
Of 27 secondary schools in St Vincent and the Grenadines, seven had no drop outs in the last school year.
This is according to statistics read out in Parliament last week Thursday by minister of education, St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince, in response to a question posed by leader of the opposition, Dr Godwin Friday about the completion or drop-out rates at each secondary school in the country.
“The graduation rate, completion rate and drop-out rate, though they have a bearing on each other cannot be used interchangeably since each denotes a different meaning,” Prince said in his response. “In 2016/2017, the overall drop-out rate stood at 2.26 per cent, while in 2017/2018, the figure stood at 2.75 per cent.”
The education minister also said that the ministry was advised by the various schools that students dropped out for different reasons.
And he listed migration, pregnancy, repeating a class and transfers as reasons contributing to the drop-out rate.
“These are the reasons given to us,” Prince said. “So, you will not find the same people moving up from form one and graduating at the same time.”
The Sandy Bay Secondary School is among the seven schools that did not have any drop outs in the last school year. This is an improvement on the previous year, when the school recorded a drop-out rate of a little less than one per cent.
The Adelphi Secondary School, where there was a 3.7 per cent drop-out rate in 2016/2017, had no drop outs in the last school year.
In 2016/2017, the Intermediate High School recorded a 1.42 per cent drop-out rate while the Bequia Seventh Day Adventist School recorded a 1.6 per cent drop-out rate.
Both schools had zero drop outs in the last academic year.
And three schools, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Summit Educational Institute, the St Vincent Grammar School and the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown had no drop outs in the last two academic years.
Two schools, the North Union Secondary School and the St Clair Dacon Secondary School had drop-out rates in excess of 15 per cent for 2017/2018.
This is an increase on the previous academic year, when North Union Secondary School recorded 7.01 per cent and the St Clair Dacon Secondary School recored 2.6 per cent drop-out rates.
Other schools also recorded slight increases in the drop-out rate. These include the Georgetown Secondary School, George Stevens Secondary School, St Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Bishop’s College Kingstown, St. Martin’s Secondary School, Bethel Secondary School, Girls’ High School, Petit Bordel Secondary School, Emmanuel High School and Bequia Community High School.
Significant decreases in the drop-out rate were recorded at the Union Island Secondary School, Buccament Bay Secondary School and the Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School.
In 2016/2017, the Union Island Secondary School recorded a drop-out rate of more than 10 per cent. In 2017/2018, the school, located in the Southern Grenadines, recorded a 2.84 per cent drop-out rate.
The Dr JP Eustace Memorial Secondary School had a drop-out rate of 4.83 per cent in 2016/2017. This was decreased in the last academic year to 0.9 per cent.
And the Buccament Bay Secondary School, which had a drop-out rate 11.27 per cent in 2016/2017, recorded a rate of 9.04 per cent in the last academic year.
Other schools which also recorded decreases in the drop-out rate include the Mountain View Adventist Academy, West St George Secondary School and the Troumaca Secondary School.
The opposition leader, at a press conference in August, expressed concern about the rate at which students were dropping out of school.
And he described the rates as “ridiculously high”.
“You can’t just say there is universal secondary education and you just can’t point to the brilliant students who do 19 and 20 subjects and get 18 ones. That is not the way to measure the performance of an education system. You have to look at what is happening to the average children,” he said.