The Ministry of Education’s Schools Welfare Department, under the guidance of the Chief Schools Welfare Officer (CSWO) Ms Gillian Vyphuis, yesterday visited Lodge Secondary School in Georgetown where a welfare intervention was conducted.
This initiative, according to Vyphuis, is the beginning of a countrywide Education Ministry welfare drive that will target the 11 educational districts across the country. Further, the CSWO noted that the intention of such a move is geared towards identifying and offering support to children and their family where it is needed.
Additionally, Vyphuis said that issues such as school attendance, punctuality and parental involvement or the lack of it are some of the issues her unit is looking to address. She explained that this approach will ensure a holistic approach to education delivery.
Further, she said that such interventions are necessary because if the children are affected by social issues at the level of the home or community their learning can be affected because such issues can become distractions.
During the visit to the school, issues were raised and with the assistance of four senior welfare officers attached to the Ministry, Vyphius conducted sessions with the children and teachers.
During the visit, the issue of attendance among the school population was addressed.
It was during the interface with the children that Mr. Vickram Mohabir, the Ministry’s Guidance and Counselling Officer, impressed upon the children the importance of not only being in school regularly but being there on time.
A former teacher himself, Mohabir explained to the children that education is a certified avenue that has been tried and tested as a means of lifting citizens out of difficult situations. “You have to value your education… if it is that you have to sprint to school to get there on time do just that.”
He also encouraged the children to prepare for school the night before so that they can leave swiftly the following morning to get to classes on time.
Also making contributions during the sessions with the children and teachers, was Senior Welfare Officer, Ms. Onika Pearson.
Pearson said that the Ministry’s intervention at the school should not be seen as anything against the school. In fact, Pearson said that the exercise is a fact-finding one that will dictate how the Ministry addresses the issues at the school moving forward.
Further, Pearson said that very soon, a parents’ conference will be executed so that the Ministry can hear from parents what might be some of the issues affecting them and how the Ministry can collaborate with them to address same. Also visiting the school were school Welfare Officers, Ms. Lotoya Hilliman, Annaley Wilson and Ms. Sharon Harris.
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