Persons that were hired as Covid-19 Ambassadors at the Ministry of Health and Wellness have been seconded to the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training to serve as School Attendance Officers. The group of twenty five are now being trained ahead of the new school year to carry out their new duties.
This secondment exercise is in response to the absence of approximately seven thousand school aged children from the classroom. The Minister of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin said, “parents have a legal obligation to ensure that their children attend school and the Minister has a legal duty to ensure our children attend school and that parents carry out their responsibility, that’s our law. Failure to carry out this duty is accompanied by a criminal sanction, that is not the objective of this exercise. The objective of this exercise is to sensitively and proactively intervene to ensure children get into school.” Grand Bahama and other Family Islands can expect a similar exercise in the near future according to Minister Hanna Martin.
Director of Education, Marcellus Taylor, was also on hand and stated that, “one of the things I like about this group, not only that it is large and it doubles, more than trebles the existing complement. Its also the diversity of personalities here. One of things I would like for you and Mr. Strachan to think about is how we could use this diversity in the profiles of individuals to create strong sub-units so that when you go out you will have the ability to reach different people because you bring different things to the table because of your sex, because of your age, because of your life experiences.”
Before this group, there were six School Attendance Officers in the country. Chief School Attendance Officer, Anzlo Strachan said, “I think what would happen now after, you know, the training has been done and we place these officers in school, that we are able to get a better handle on preventing children from just dropping out of school, skipping school and playing the throne.”
The new officers will be based in various primary schools subsequent to training.