Support students with absenteeism issues

Published Date: 04 October 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Ang Mo Kio GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether there is a standardised protocol and tracking process across post-primary educational institutions to intervene for youths who stop going to school; and (b) whether there is centralised assistance available for such youths who are not in education or employment, who may wish to go back to school.

Response

1. The Ministry of Education, schools and partner agencies adopt an integrated approach towards enabling students to complete their secondary education. Hence the attrition rate has been reduced from 3.6% in 2002 to less than 1% in the past ten years.

2. Early upstream intervention in school is provided to strengthen at-risk students' engagement and sense of connectedness to school. Once students show early signs of disengagement, they are individually tracked and supported. Form teachers and School Counsellors reach out to these students to understand and address their challenges. Student Welfare Officers will also conduct home visits and work with Family Service Centres (FSCs) to engage parents and encourage the student who have been absent to return to school. Secondary schools have also set up after-school programmes to provide mentoring and learning support to students.

3. Under UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce), the UPLIFT Community Pilot addresses absenteeism issues early through school-based and community-based support. Schools refer students with emerging signs of absenteeism and their families to an UPLIFT Town-Level Coordinator (TLC) based at the Social Service Office (SSO) who will assess their needs and refer them to appropriate agencies, local programmes and resources.

4. Every effort is made to counsel and dissuade at-risk students from dropping out of school. For students with chronic absenteeism and who drop out notwithstanding the school's efforts, MOE taps on partners such as the Social Service Offices (SSOs), FSCs, Self-Help Groups and Social Service Agencies (SSAs) to continue supporting them. For example, they may be referred to the Enhanced STEP-UP Programme where youth workers in appointed SSAs engage the students to support their continued education.

5. School drop-outs can resume their education by approaching MOE or the school they were last enrolled in. Their needs will be assessed and the student will be re-admitted appropriately. Upon re-admission, students will receive additional support to smoothen their return and enable them to complete their education.

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