Seventy per cent of school dropouts in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) are from broken homes without a father figure, according to Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer attached to the Education Ministry, Vickram Mohabir.
He made the statement when the Education Department in Region Five honoured close to 40 fathers as part of their programme to have fathers play a more integral role in their children’s lives.
“If men are developed and empowered then the social ills that we face in society will disappear; there will be no more fractured families; there will be no more children who will be here, there and everywhere,” Mohabir said.
He added that more resources should be placed in the development of men since the benefit to society would be tremendous.
“Seventy per cent of all high school dropouts come from homes of fatherless children. Currently, the Ministry of Education is working for fuller recognition and inclusion of fathers in all of their programmes because of the huge impact fathers can have on their kids. Children with fathers in their lives have fewer difficulties coping with emotional difficulties in their adolescent stage,” he stated.
Mohabir said fatherless children have more troubles academically, scoring poorly on tests of reading, Mathematics and thinking skills.
“Children from father-absent homes are more likely to show and be excluded from school. They are also more likely to leave school by age 16 and less likely to attain an academic and professional qualification in adulthood,” he noted.
The official noted that many men think of themselves as the head of the home but if they were to think of themselves as the foundation allowing the family to be built on them, then the family unit will be stronger.
“Seventy-one per cent of girls who become pregnant as teenagers came from homes where the father was absent”. He said an estimated 24.7 million children or 33 per cent of all children live absent from their biological father. Fatherlessness is not only a problem in Guyana and the Caribbean but worldwide. Fifty years ago, eight per cent of all children grew up in single-parent homes; today that figure has risen to more than 25 per cent. Statistics show that fathers are leaving the home for trivial issues,” Mohabir said.
Noting that sometimes circumstances may cause fathers and children to separate, he said when fathers are involved in the child’s life, there is greater academic performance; their active involvement can have a positive impact on the child’s life.
In Region Five, efforts are being made to have fathers play a more active role in their children’s development. In giving an overview of the programme; School Social Welfare Officer, Gloria Davidson, explained that the school welfare section of the Education Department had been working with parents, providing them with skills to raise their children.
The training, she said, was aimed to foster parental development, enhance parental skills and to promote collaboration across the region.
She said when the school year commenced, head teachers were tasked with identifying outstanding fathers and later the criteria for judging was set.