Playing truant seems to be the norm for nearly 30% of students from Western Australian Public Schools, according to a recent report, raising concern about its negative impact on their education.
The report made by Auditor General Colin Murphy found that 50% of 10th standard students are absent from school on a regular basis.
It is also apparent that the education department did precious little to improve attendance for such chronic absenteeism. Though the total attendance for public schools was 91%, nearly 49,000 children in years 1 to 10 were found to be absent frequently. Further, a steep fall in attendance was observed as students moved to secondary school - only 53% were going to school regularly.
Responding to the report with great concern Education Minister Liz Constable said, "This is a problem for everyone - parents, schools, the Department, myself as Minister and the community. Unless parents send children to school, we can not teach them. So this is a partnership that we really must start building on far more, and that's why today we are releasing a paper for consultation with the community for three months. I would hope that by the beginning of the next school year that we will have new strategies in place to deal with this very vexing problem."
Education is imperative in imparting knowledge, life and career skills to children. Improving the attendance levels should not be the onus of parents alone , instead it must be a collective effort of families, schools, the Education department, other agencies and local communities.