This morning UNICEF alongside key government partners launched the Out of School Children Report. The purpose of the study was to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis on the profiles and barriers for out of school children and those at risk of dropping out. The study found that 2183 children ages 5 through 10 are not in primary school. According to the report 15, 153 children are at risk of dropping out. While the Ministry of Education and its partners have made progress in the education sector, children across Belize are still confronted with challenges, especially in the access to early childhood education and in the transition to secondary education. Deputy Chief Education Officer Neulin Villanueva shared more.
Neulin Villanueva, Deputy Chief Education Officer, MOH
“We are looking at five dimensions of exclusion and so the first three looks at for example dimension one looks at your four year olds that are not in schools and then dimension 2 looks at your primary school students who are not in school and then dimension 3 looks at the lower secondary students. Dimension 4 and 5 looks at primary and secondary but those who are at risk of dropping out of school and what we’re finding is that students from rural areas seem to be at a disadvantage and of course students form a low socio economic backgrounds as well. What the study does is highlight districts for dimension that we need to pay more attention to so that is to be how it is going to be used by the Ministry and our partners, here where we have not just the Ministry of Education but we have the Ministry of Human Development as well and some of our other partners to look at these recommendations and try to chart the way forward. The major focus of curse is those students that are out of school and within that category you have those that never entered and you have those that came in but dropped out and then you also find that there is a considerable number of students who have delayed entry for example at the primary level so we need to look at those particular students in particular to find how we can support them to ensure that they start on time because we know over age is a significant indicator of success in school. Those students who are one or more years over age for their age cohorts seem to have a harder time staying in school and so we want to definitely prevent that from happening.”
The Global Out-of-School Children Initiative, a partnership between UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), was launched in 2010 to make a significant, sustainable reduction in the number of children who are out of school.