ASP Coleridge Minto
The Ministry of Education says the issue of student dropout continues to be one of the greatest challenges its Safety and Security in Schools Department faces despite various initiatives to address the issue.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Coleridge Minto, Director of the department, says Region Four, which consists of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland has the highest rate of dropouts.
He did not provide figures.
However, speaking at a ceremony in St. James on Thursday morning, Mr. Minto explained that student dropout is due to a number of factors including lack of lunch money, inability to afford transportation costs and domestic issue.
He said this is worrying, pointing to statistics which indicate that dropouts are more likely to be in conflict with the country's laws.
"When you look on the JCF 2012 Prison Inmates Study, which indicates that nearly 60 per cent of those who were incarcerated were either a dropout of school or left school with one or no qualifications. That paints a very instructive picture," ASP Minto asserted.
However, he said the Ministry of Education will continue to strengthen initiatives to address the issue of student dropout.
"The Ministry has invested in the last school year $200 million for transportation alone and this was to support, Mr. Chairman, 8,000 students across eight parishes with transportation allowances...It is to increase the attendance rate of our students for school, it is to prevent them from dropping out of school, and we are expanding this programme for this school year because it is our intention that all our students remain in school," ASP Minto told the attendees at the ceremony.