Bahamas Unveils Countrywide Hotline to Tackle Truancy in Schools

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In an effort to combat truancy and improve school attendance rates, the Ministry of Education in the Bahamas has introduced a national school attendance hotline. This initiative is based on the requirement that all children between the ages of 5 and 16 must be present in school during educational hours, which are from 8am to 5pm.

Tackling Truancy After the Pandemic

The establishment of the attendance hotline was influenced by the significant decrease in attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic, when virtual learning did not engage 50% of students. While attendance figures have increased to 90% since the resumption of in-person classes, the ministry aims to achieve full attendance.

Involving the Public in Promoting School Attendance

Education Director Dominique Russell has encouraged the public to actively participate in this initiative by reporting sightings of children outside of school during the designated hours. Trained officers are available on the hotline to promptly respond to reports and work with local schools and the police to resolve attendance issues.

A Single Call Makes a Difference

Education Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin highlighted the vital role of the program by sharing an incident where the hotline helped a missing child return to school. The ministry assures confidentiality for individuals reporting truancy and emphasizes the essential role of education in fostering academic, intellectual, and creative development, as well as providing guidance and support to children.