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According to a 2016 Guyana Out-Of-School Children Study (OOSCS) which was a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF),
“Out-of-school students—students of school age who are out of school, in Guyana face a range of challenges that can make it difficult for them to access and succeed in education. While there is no single profile that fits all out-of-school students in Guyana, research has identified several factors that are commonly associated with this group.
One factor that is often associated with out-of-school students in Guyana is living in a household from the lowest socioeconomic quintile. Poverty can be a significant barrier to education, as it can limit access to resources, such as uniforms, books, and transportation, and make it difficult for families to afford the costs associated with schooling. It can also lead to a lack of motivation and a belief that education is not important or relevant to their lives.
Another factor that is commonly associated with out-of-school students in Guyana is being a boy of lower secondary school age. Boys are more likely to be out of school than girls in Guyana, particularly in the lower secondary school age range. This may be due to a variety of factors, including gender-based discrimination, cultural norms and expectations, and a lack of resources and support for boys’ education.
A child with a mother with low educational achievement is also more likely to be out of school in Guyana. Research has shown that mothers’ education levels are strongly correlated with their children’s educational outcomes, as mothers with higher levels of education are more likely to understand the importance of education and advocate for their children’s schooling. Children with mothers who have low levels of education may be less likely to receive support and encouragement to stay in school.
Living in hinterland and remote communities is another factor that is commonly associated with out-of-school students in Guyana. Many of these communities are isolated and may have limited access to schools, resources, and transportation, which can make it difficult for children to attend school regularly. This can be especially challenging for children who live in indigenous or Afro-indigenous communities, as they may face additional cultural and linguistic barriers to education.
Children who are overage for their grade are also more likely to be out of school in Guyana. This may be due to a variety of factors, including a lack of access to education, poor attendance, or difficulty learning at the same pace as their peers. Children who are overage for their grade may struggle to catch up with their peers and may face additional challenges, such as bullying or discrimination, which can make it difficult for them to stay in school.
Children who experience poor relationships with peers and adults in their school are also at risk of being out of school in Guyana. A negative school environment can be a major barrier to education, as it can make it difficult for children to feel motivated and engaged in their learning. Children who experience poor relationships with their peers and teachers may be more likely to skip school or drop out altogether.
Other barriers to school attendance include poverty and financial constraints, lack of parental awareness about the value of education, child labor, and long periods of unsupervised time. Teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, and physical and verbal abuse at school can also be major deterrents to school attendance. Additionally, teacher absenteeism and unsupportive or uncaring teachers can create a negative school environment and discourage students from attending.
Children with poor attendance records are also at risk of being out of school in Guyana. Regular attendance is critical for children’s academic success and social development, as it allows them to build relationships with their peers and teachers and to learn new skills and knowledge. Children with poor attendance records may struggle to keep up with their peers and may face additional challenges, such as being held back a grade or dropping out of school altogether.
Guyana’s small population and developing oil economy means that it is essential for every student to be well-equipped to contribute to the country’s economic growth. To ensure that this happens, it is crucial for “the entire village” of Guyana to invest in the education of every child and bring them back into the academic system. This will require a concerted effort to address the barriers and challenges that prevent students from attending school and succeeding academically. Only by investing in the education of all its citizens can Guyana hope to realize its full potential and achieve long-term economic growth and development.