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Currently, there are more than 12.4 million students in the age group 6 to 18.
Currently, there are more than 12.4 million students in the age group 6 to 18.

Parents Culpable of Truancy to Be Dropped From Subsidy List

Over the past two years (2014-2015), 143,000 children did not register in schools and last year an estimated 67,000 students dropped out at the primary education level

Parents Culpable of Truancy to Be Dropped From Subsidy List

Deputy for welfare at the Ministry of Labor, Cooperatives, and Social Welfare said Tuesday that heads of households who force their children into truancy will be eliminated from the cash subsidy list.
“Forcing absenteeism is a crime, and the cash subsidy to breadwinners who prevent their children from attending school will be cut,” warned Ahmad Meydari, addressing a session at the ministry’s Socio-Cultural Center for Social Harm Management Department in Shiraz, Fars Province, ISNA reported.
The direct cash payment is part of the government’s Subsidy Reform Plan that was introduced during former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and passed by parliament in January 2010.
As per the plan, costly subsidies on food and fuel were removed and instead every Iranian was entitled to a monthly payment of 450,000 rials ($13) paid into the bank account of the head of household or a person’s legal guardian.
“Acknowledging the existing barriers, such as poverty and joblessness among parents or inadequate financial resources, are the first step in addressing the problem,” of trauncy, said Meydari at the meeting.
“Creating sensitivity toward the issue, encouraging the necessary political will and proposing workable solutions are essential to tackle the problem of children out of schools,” he stressed.

 Austere Action
The government has been tackling the issue of forced truancy head on. In early April, Ali Baqerzadeh, deputy education minister and head of the Literacy Movement Organization, warned that authorities in cooperation of the judiciary were getting tough on violators, referring to the law that calls for the prosecution of parents for their children’s truancy.
“Parents who intentionally prevent their children from attending school will be fined 10 million rials ($300), and (also) face imprisonment between three months to a year,” he was quoted as saying by Azad University News Agency ‘ANA’ at the time.
The legislation is part of the Child Protection Law passed by the Majlis (parliament) in 2002 that criminalized child abuse and provided for mandatory reporting of abuse.
The law also made child abuse a civil crime, not requiring a plaintiff, meaning that parents can now be prosecuted for child abuse as well as forced truancy, as reported by the Persian language daily ‘Shahrvand’.
While the legislation was not strictly applied all these years in the case of absenteeism, Baqerzadeh said since two years after it was first enforced, the law seemed to be effective as a total of 700 parents were put on trial over their children’s truancy.
The cases are said to be treated on a priority basis if school officials report that parents are failing to fulfill their duty.

 Lack of Clear Information
Meydari regretted that there is no accurate data on absentee children, but the problem should be addressed and uprooted.
Currently, there are more than 12.4 million students in the age group 6 to 18, of whom 7.2 million are primary students, 2 million secondary and 3.2 million are high school students or 75% of children under 18 years have the opportunity to pass out of high school.
Meydari says there are 350,000 out-of-school children of primary school age in the country, and annually, 1.3 million do not get to finish high school.
“This figure is huge for our country, particularly because the actual numbers could be higher,” he warned, lamenting the fact that Iran struggles with weak laws in child abuse.
According to official data, over the past two years (2014-2015), 143,000 children did not register in schools and last year an estimated 67,000 students dropped out at the primary education level.
The Parliament Research Center says three million children in the age group 6-18 in Iran have not been registered in any school or have dropped out for various reasons. Unofficial sources put this number at six million.
It was not reported why the children did not register or why they left school at the early stage. But it is generally believed that the kids don’t go to school mainly in the poor and remote regions of the country, because of financial problems or negligent parents.

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