Education Minister, Petter Saint Jean has called on parents to get involved in their children’s education, noting that the Education Act gives the minister the right to prosecute parents who deny education to their children.
He warned that the time has come “to bring the full weight of the law upon the violators.”
“Parents have a moral responsibility … it is an obligation on every parent, male and female, father and mother, to get involved in that child’s education,” he stated. “The Education Act gives the minister, or the chief acting for and on behalf of the minister, the right to prosecute any parent who wilfully denies his or her child an education.”
Saint Jean was speaking as a guest on Talking Point on state-own DBS Radio of Monday.
He stated that parents have a responsibility of making sure that their children “get to school, they stay in school and they access quality education.”
He mentioned also that in all settings and at all levels of education, parents “must” take the responsibility to ensure these children are provided, first of all with their basic needs: “food shelter, clothing.”
“A child will not do well if he doesn’t have the basic necessities,” he pointed out.
Beyond that, he noted, parents must “ensure that child gets up early, gets to school on time, the child is clean in a hygienic condition, that the child has lunch and if he doesn’t have, get to the relevant school authority to let us know.”
He stressed that parents must take responsibility at all stages of development of their children.
“There has to be constant monitoring and working with that child, not just telling the child, ‘go and do your work’,” he noted. “And critically fathers must play an important role in the development of their children, not just at grade 6, not just at 5th form or when they get to University, because no child will get to 5th form or University if that child does not have a solid foundation.”
Saint Jean encourages parents to get involved at the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) level.
“Get involved in the PTA and if you are not on the executive get to the PTA meetings, get to the class meetings,” he noted.
He pointed to the importance of obtaining the necessary text books for students.
“You cannot provide your child with a Smart Phone, a Galaxy 5, an Edge, S-6, an IPhone, while he or she does not have the requisite text books,” Saint Jean said.