The ‘Family Connect App’, which is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Youth to locate students who have disengaged from the school system, is expected to be in operation by the end of this month.
The app, which is currently undergoing testing, will support data collection and reporting processes to inform evidence-based interventions from the Ministry.
“The app, when it’s ready, is going to make a big difference in our efforts,” said Acting Director for the Ministry’s Safety and Security in Schools Unit, Richard Troupe.
The app will be available to all 1,010 public schools and will be used by designated officers, such as Principals, Deans of Discipline, and Guidance Counsellors, to input information about unaccounted students.
Attendance records generated by classroom and form teachers will also be used to support the tracking of students.
“Some persons at the regional level would also have access to the data. Within the central Ministry, a selected group of people will also have access to the national data, so that it will inform a national analysis and a national response to what the findings reveal,” Mr. Troupe said.
He indicated that funds remaining from the ‘Yard to Yard, Find the Child’ initiative will be redirected to schools that the Family Connect App indicates have greater challenges in locating and re-engaging students.
According to Troupe, approximately $34 million remains from the funding provided under the initiative, to help schools hire social and youth workers to locate students who were disengaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.