Grenadian Government Tables Legislation Increasing Compulsory School Age

 

CMC – The Grenadian government has successfully tabled legislation amending the Education Act to increase to 17 years, the compulsory school age that had previously been from five to 16 years.

The measure goes into effect at the start of the new academic term that begins in September.

The Dickon Mitchell administration said that the move is laying the foundation to start addressing some critical issues that confront the development of the island.

Leader of Government Business, Phillip Telesford, in tabling the legislation said that it will amend the Education Act by redefining compulsory school age.

“By increasing it to 17 inclusive it means that a child ought to remain in school until he or she attains age 17. This particular bill is important because it sets the foundation to start to address some critical issues that confront us in our growing economy, our developing island.

“We campaigned speaking on the good development of our young people, our youths, and one of the elements that spoke to the development was that of skills training and so our government is setting the platform to implement skills training throughout the system,” said Phillip, who is also the Health Minister.

He told legislators that “this is guaranteeing that every child that leaves the school system should have at least a skill, that we believe is important because those skills will develop passions, and those passions if followed well and managed well can result in people developing wonderful and prosperous careers, businesses and other dreams”.

Prime Minister Mitchell in his contribution to the debate said that the amendment is just a foundational piece of how his government is dealing with education in Grenada.

“You are ought not to be given a choice to say you are exiting the education system…There is a notion that compulsory education ends with secondary school but that is part of the challenge we have in the education system,” he said

Though the Employment Act defines the working age could start at 16, Prime Minister Mitchell said that people of that age cannot be legally hired “because employment is a legal agreement, a contract” and the age for legal responsibility is 18.

He said as part of the process, there will be an amendment to the Employment Act, indicating, however, that the move is not a cure for the many challenges facing young people.

“It is the beginning of putting in place one of the architectural frameworks as we begin to make sure that we don’t have a significant amount of students exiting school without a skill, this will be giving them an opportunity,” he said.

The Bill is scheduled for debate and approval at the June 6 sitting of the Upper House.