The outreach teams for inclusion of children and students in the education system start their visits to private addresses from today. 1103 groups were formed, consisting of 11 632 representatives of the various institutions – teachers, school principals, social workers, police officers, mediators, civil society representatives. Where possible, psychologists have been included, whereas in cases of necessity, those from the mobile group of the Ministry of Education and Science can also participate. Each team has a particular region and number of children to reach out to and bring back into the education system.
206 378 are all children and students in the age range of 5-18 that have dropped out or never attended school or kindergarten. For their inclusion the state will employ all resources and put all needed efforts, said Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev at the press conference, marking the start of the inter-institutional mechanism. The event was also attended by the Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev and members of the Coordination Union for the Mechanism.
Currently, penalties exist for parents that do not sent their children to school or kindergarten, explained Minister Valchev. “The Law on Pre-school and School Education determines a first fine of 50 to 100 BGN and a penalty of 100 to 500 BGN for subsequent violations,” he added. There is the possibility for ceasing the social benefits for children where there are more than 5 absences.
At the moment, amendments are being drafted to the Law on Social Benefits and the Law on Family Benefits, which will be presented for a public consultation in the beginning of September. The amendments will create a stronger link between social benefits and school attendance.
Those measures will certainly produce results, according to Deputy Prime Minister Donchev. The first results from the work of the teams will be available in the middle of October, but the process will continue. “If we want to achieve success, a few more steps will be necessary. The alternative of children staying at home is unacceptable,” he said.