The right of the child to education

Almost 90 percent of the students who wrote the 2016 Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) Exams will receive secondary school education from the new school year which begins in September.

Education Minister Anthony Boatswain said although it is a high number of children entering secondary school, almost 25 percent do not complete their secondary school education.

One thousand, nine hundred and fifty-five students wrote the exams earlier in the year, but one thousand, seven hundred and twenty-three students are being assigned to secondary schools.

Two hundred and thirty-two students have been retained at the primary school level.

Minister Boatswain who was at the time making his contribution to the debate on the Constitution Bill of Rights and Freedoms which addresses the right of the Child to education told his fellow Parliamentarians that about 40 percent of the children who graduate from secondary school have not achieved the basic requirement to go on to tertiary institution.

He added that the net enrollment rate at the T A Marryshow Community College is about 20 percent of the students who graduate from secondary school.

The Education Minister provided the House with a breakdown of the stages of the education process which is compulsory for every child between the ages of five and 16 based on the Education Act of 2004.

He reported that there is a pre-school enrollment rate of almost 90 percent of young children from three years old.

The primary school education is offered to children who are between the ages of five and 12.

Minister Boatswain said Grenada currently has a gross enrollment rate of 126 percent which is the highest in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Secondary school education is for children up to the age of 16 years. However, children are required to receive a pass at the CPEA in order to enter the secondary school.

Minister Boatswain informed Parliament that government provides a number of support mechanisms for the children to attend school.

This, he said includes the uniform programme, books programme, and transportation allowance.

According to the senior government minister, there can be no valid excuse for children not to attend school.

“We have to ask ourselves what is happening to those who drop out of school, and if we believe in the fundamental principles of education for all, we must put in place systems to ensure that these children who drop out are indeed attended to as well,” he said.

The Bill stipulates that every child up to 16 years of age who is a citizen of Grenada is entitled to public-funded primary education in educational institutions owned or funded by the State.

The Education Minister warned that unless alternatives are provided the country will be faced with a problem.

He said greater emphasis is now being placed on technical and vocational education as the world of work is now demanding workers with technical skills.

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