More than 18 per cent of Galway students are absent from school 20 days or more per year, according to a report released by the National Education Welfare Board.
The report shows that the average student nationally misses 12 primary school days and 13 post-primary school days a year and that the figures for non-attendance has remained the same over the last five-year period.
The report showed that, in Galway, 18.2 per cent of students are missing from school 20 days or more a year. The worst school attendance rates were seen in Cavan and Laois with 23.5 per cent and 23.6 percent of students respectively absent from school 20 days or more a year. The best attendance was in Waterford with just a 10.6 per cent absenteeism rate.
Following the publication of the report the NEWB, which was established in 2002, has come in for some criticism for its perceived ineffectiveness in tackling issues such as absenteeism.
Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Education, Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said this week that the report is “further confirmation of the fact that the ‘one size fits all’ points-honoured arrangement, currently employed in Ireland, is failing our children and forcing them out of the school system.”
The senator, who last week launched the first Joint Oireachtas Report entitled Staying in Education: A New Way Forward, said: “The average student is said to miss 12 primary and 13 post-primary school days. Obviously with 18.2 per cent of students in Galway city and county missing in excess of 20 days annually, the situation here is far more serious.”
Senator Healy Eames said that the Oireachtas report “points to the ways schools must adapt so that we can ensure that those who disengage in school do not slip through the net and end up leaving before their time, with damning impact for themselves and society in the long-run.
“With one in six children dropping out prior to completion of the Leaving Cert and almost one in five in Galway now reported to be miss more than 20 school days a year, as well as 10 per cent of our kids being expelled from disadvantaged schools, we need to urgently address where the system is falling down”.