Clash in House over school drop-outs

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC MP Anita Haynes. File photo/Office of the Parliament

ANITA HAYNES, Tabaquite MP and shadow spokesman on education, has asked how many pupils had dropped out of the school system during the covid19 pandemic amid reports that 46,770 pupils had never accessed online learning during that period, but Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said many of those pupils had continued learning via printed packages of learning material.

The matter arose last Friday in the House of Representatives as Haynes posed an oral question to Gadbsy-Dolly.

Haynes had asked how many of the reported 46,770 pupils who had not been online had later returned to the physical school system.

Gadsby-Dolly in a statement said many of those pupils had obtained printed packages, even as the government had otherwise supplied pupils with 63,000 electronic devices plus 8,000 My-Fi devices (to access the Internet.)

The minister said some pupils had naturally transitioned out of school (upon reaching the appropriate age), even as 180,000 pupils were ultimately recorded as being physically back in school.

She said her ministry’s Student Support Services (SSS) division monitored pupils displaying irregular attendance at school.

Haynes asked how many had dropped out, prompting Gadsby-Dolly to say she did not have that figure at present but that such pupils were monitored by both the SSS and the community police.

Haynes asked what percentage of pupils who had not been involved in online lessons had returned to the physical school system.

Gadsby-Dolly replied, “That would have to be determined.”

She said that not being online did not mean pupils did not access education, as many got packages of materials from their hard-working teachers.

Pressed by Haynes, the minister referred to printed packages to say, “It is the application of students and parents that would have brought the quality.”