Over 113,000 students re-engaged In schools Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Approximately 113,300 students have, to date, been located and re-engaged in schools, under the Ministry of Education and Youth’s ‘Yard to Yard, Find the Child’ initiative.

Acting Director for the Ministry’s Safety and Security in Schools Unit, Richard Troupe, made the disclosure in an interview with JIS News.

He said the data is supported by weekly attendance reports provided by schools, through the Ministry’s regional offices.

Approximately 120,000 students were detached from the school system when classes moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Troupe said inadequate supervision at home and lack of access to the internet and technology devices, were among the primary reasons for students becoming disengaged.

“This concept of self-directed learning was very new to them; and so, it was not easy for them to remain connected with school [during online classes],” he noted.

By the end of the 2021/22 academic year, 102,000 students were re-engaged under the ‘Yard-to-Yard’ initiative, which was launched in January 2022.

Of the 18,000 who remained unaccounted for, most of them returned to face-to-face classes at the start of the 2022/23 academic year in September.

Mr. Troupe noted that the majority of the 6,700 youngsters who still remain out of school, are senior-level secondary students.

He said that economic livelihood continues to be the main factor preventing senior students from returning to school, noting that there are others who have been displaced due to various factors and have resettled in other spaces.

Mr. Troupe also indicated that there are still some concerns about the daily quality of some students’ attendance, adding that the Ministry is “working with our parents to ensure that they are maximising the teaching-learning contact time”.

“We have to be giving greater accountability of our children attending school every day of the week,” he pointed out.

The ‘Yard to Yard, Find the Child’ initiative was intended to run for three months, up to March 31, 2022.

It was, however, extended to continue the process of locating students and getting them back into classes.

It involves engaging youth and social workers to complement school-based teams and visiting homes to find students and re-connect them with their schools.

Since the initiative’s implementation, Mr. Troupe said it has been acknowledged throughout the Caribbean for its innovation in mobilising various stakeholders to find students who were displaced from the education system, due to the pandemic.