Education official have lamented about the lack of attendance at school by a number of public school students. In an effort to combat the problem the ministry announced the secondment of COVID-19 ambassadors to serve as School Attendance Officers. However, the Minister of State for Education and Technical and Vocational Training, the Hon. Zane Lightbourne says schools are reporting lower population numbers. He spoke to ZNS while at an education summit saying, “there are many schools that have identified that they have a lower population and so that work is still going on for us to identify and along with the Department of Statistics and other agents to identify what happened to our students that are not showing. Some of them may have moved out of the country, some of them may have gone private or otherwise and homeschooling we know is growing. And so we have to identify where exactly the students are and what their circumstances are.”

The Minister of State appealed to the parents of the students absent from schools. He said, “we noticed for some school, I don’t want to name, that attendance is growing as the days go by. And so why know that in some cases, if parents are keeping students home, which we know, that we’re appealing to those parents to make sure that your children come to school. Please make sure that your children are identified as receiving a good quality education. Our nation depends on it. And we don’t need them to be trickling in late because once school is settled we expect our students to move at a steady pace.”

Minister Lightbourne was speaking from the Bahamas Education and Scholarship summit which attracted delegates from across the region. The aim of the annual summit is to increase access to higher education opportunities to Bahamian students.