The School Retention ILO/TACKLE Project is collaboration between the Government of Guyana and the International Labour Organisation that sought to reduce child labour by improving school attendance and punctuality through the provision of transportation and hot meals for students and supportive services for parents, guardians and teachers.
The project began in September 2011, and targeted 360 children enrolled at the Dora Secondary, and Kuru Kuru Primary School and Nursery class on the Linden Soesdyke Highway. That project saw an investment of US$222,878 by the ILO and $3,365,000 from the Guyana Government. Prior to that project, records from the Dora Secondary for example showed a 65% average attendance rate, Kuru Kuru Primary, a 77% attendance rate with 56% at the nursery level. Consultations with parents and teachers revealed that the primary reasons why many children were unable to attend schools regularly was due to financial constraints.
Subsequently, through the project, teachers and school administrators were trained, as well as students in numeracy and literacy. A nutrition and transportation support programme was also launched and parenting workshops conducted to give physiological support to those in need.
Within two weeks of its implementation, the project saw impressive results: attendance moved from 64% to 94%, and there was punctual and regular teachers and students attendance; as well as the teachers attrition rate reduced considerably.
For the first time the school presented 18 children to write the National Grade Six Examination in 2012, the previous highest number never exceeded seven. The school entered into a national poetry competition and copped a prize at that competition. One student at Dora Secondary School recorded eight CXC subject passes, the best performance the school had in a decade.
The project concluded in 2012, and the school retention/child labour prevention efforts are being continued by the Ministry of Education.