2 Nov 2007

Samoa plans raising school leaving age to 14

2:16 pm on 2 November 2007

Samoa's Ministry of Education is considering raising the school leaving age and penalising parents who fail to ensure their children attend school.

The government brought in compulsory schooling 13 years ago covering children from the ages of 5 to 12.

But the Education Ministry has confirmed that there are children in this age group often seen outside school, sometimes working in the markets.

This week the president of the Survival Foundation organization, Tuila'epa Mary Grey, has called on the government to do something about the truants.

The Ministry of Education's communication officer, Fa'amatuainu Vasa, says there is a proposal before Cabinet to amend the legislation.

He says it includes raising the leaving age to 14 years and penalties of up to 25 US dollars for breaches.

Mr Vasa says this will ensure that everyone from the ministry to village mayors and parents play a role.

Police may also get more power to enforce the legislation.