Truancy, pregnancy and school drop-outs are challenges facing the educational sector in the Sekond-Takoradi metropolis of the Western Region, the Metropolitan Education Director, Mrs Sally Nelly Coleman, has lamented.
For truancy at the basic level, she said, the directorate recorded a total of 97 cases in 2020/21 with Kojokrom circuit scoring the highest of 21, followed by Sekondi, 17, Takoradi East, 14, Takoradi West, eight while Takoradi central had the least of three. The total figure however, dropped to 83 in 2021/22.
At the Senior High School (iHSHS) level, truancy went up from 69 in 2020/21 to 362 in 2021/22, Mrs Coleman stated at a meeting with the media on campaign for youth-oriented and gender sensitive topics held in Sekondi on Thursday, as part of Twin Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) to address child prostitution and teenage pregnancies.
She said “These are big issues among our students and militating against academic performance. We are making frantic efforts to eradicate or to reduce them to the barest minimum. Truancy cuts across all the levels, but, the major ones are those who have registered for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).”
With pregnancy at basic level, Mrs Coleman said that, Essikado recorded the highest of five from 2020/21 to 2021/22, and, that, the general situation showed a slight increment from 26 to 28 during the period, stressing “the trend as alarming.”
Regarding drop -outs, she told the participants that, 24 cases recorded at the basic level during the period had also gone up to 32, saying “that is also an alarming increment.”
Comparing 2021 with 2022, Mrs Coleman mentioned that, figures on truancy were still counting even before the examinations were to be written and that as “I speak, we have three before WASSCE and BECE starts in August and September respectively.”
Truancy at the SHS level in 2020/ 2021, she said, was 69 and increased to 362 while pregnancies rose from 19 to 35. Drop-outs also rose from 102 to 721 in 2021/22.
“This is overwhelming and an alarming increment in all the three issues we have highlighted. The moment the students are registered for BECE and WASSCE, some of them decide to come to school, as and when they like, but, not according to the timetable. This is why we have met to help us discuss the way forward to curb such menace in our society,” she commented.
During interactions, participants noted that, generally parents seemed to have no vision and ambition for their children and had abandoned their future hence the alarming rates of truancy, drop-outs and pregnancies even among registered students.
It appears, as a society, we have lost our sense of discipline and rather grabbed the ‘trophy’ of permissiveness. How can a child go out to play and come home after midnight? “a journalist asked, and encouraged education authorities to tighten disciplinary measures.
Chairman of the Social Services sub-committee of the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolitan Assembly STMA), Michael Doku, urged the media to enhance education on their platforms to promote excellence and scholarship among students.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, SEKONDI